Sunday, 31 July 2016

Little Feathers on Beaches.

We are surrounded every day by little miracles of beauty. A feather lost from some seagull flying overhead drops gently to the sand like a feather landing on a fan. As it finds its space it creates a beauty of its own, the artist sees this beauty others may also but for the majority it is but a feather on a beach.  

It is often in the little things that great big marvels happen. I heard many years ago a true story of a little boy and his song of life. It reminds us that we are surrounded by little miracles if we just give them the chance to show themselves.  

I hope I can remember the story as I was told it but it was many years ago.

Like any good mother, when Karen found out that another baby was on the way, she did what she could to help her 3-year-old son, Michael, prepare for a new sibling.
The new baby was going be a girl, and day after day, night after night, Michael sang to his sister in Mothers womb. He was building a bond of love with his little sister before he even met her.
The pregnancy progressed normally for Karen.
In time, the labour pains came. Soon it was every five minutes, every three, every minute. But serious complications arose during delivery and Karen found herself in hours of labour.
Finally, after a long struggle, Michael’s little sister was born. But she was in very serious condition. With a siren howling in the night, the ambulance rushed the infant to the neonatal intensive care unit.
The days inched by. The little girl got worse. The pediatrician had to tell the parents there was very little hope. Be prepared for the worst. Karen and her husband contacted a local cemetery about a burial plot. They had fixed up a special room in their house for their new baby they found themselves having to plan for a funeral.
Michael, however, kept begging his parents to let him see his sister. “I want to sing to her,” he kept saying.
Week two in intensive care looked as if a funeral would come before the week was over. Michael kept nagging about singing to his sister, but kids are never allowed in Intensive Care.
Karen decided to take Michael whether they liked it or not. If he didn’t see his sister right then, he may never see her alive. She dressed him in an oversized scrub suit and marched him into ICU. He looked like a walking laundry basket.
The head nurse recognised him as a child and bellowed, “Get that kid out of here now. No children are allowed.”
The mother rose up strong, Karen the usually mild-mannered lady glared steel-eyed right into the head nurse’s eyes, her lips a firm line, “He is not leaving until he sings to his sister.”
Then Karen towed Michael to his sister’s bedside. He gazed at the tiny infant losing the battle to live. After a moment, he began tossing. In the pure-hearted voice of a 3-year-old, Michael sang:
“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray.”
Almost instantly the baby girl seemed to respond. The pulse rate began to calm down and became steady.
“Keep on singing, Michael,” encouraged Karen with tears in her eyes.
“You never know, dear, how much I love you, please don’t take my sunshine away.”
As Michael sang to his sister, the baby’s ragged, strained breathing became as smooth as a kitten’s purr. “Keep on singing, sweetheart.”
“The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping, I dreamed I held you in my arms”.
 Michael’s little sister began to relax as rest, healing rest, seemed to sweep over her. “Keep singing, Michael.” Tears had now conquered the face of the bossy head nurse. Karen glowed.
“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. Please don’t take my sunshine away…”
The next day,…the very next day…the little girl was well enough to go home. The girl was called Marlee and she is now a grown women . I wonder if her brother ever sings to her? 
May you hear melodies that make you feel well and find your little feathers on the beach . Have a great day.


Saturday, 30 July 2016

Lessons from a Dog.

Yes I have used this painting before , it is a painting of my sons dog. But it seemed the only painting I could use this morning. . I was asked today by a friend if I still had my dog. My last dog was out running with me and for some silly reason I decided to cut my run short. He thought I was heading the usual way and crossed the road in front of a fast moving car. I have regretted that so often in the days between then and now. I would love to have another dog but that will not happen. 

I have written poems about my dog and may have shared it on here but not sure. 

But this morning I was thinking about dogs and also about being a teacher. I was thinking what if the dog was the teacher what would the lessons be. 

So here we go.

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them, and show you are happy to see them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride, or a walk. It is a good way of sharing.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face,
to be pure ecstasy.
When it’s in your best interest,practice obedience, but not in a subservient way.

Take naps and stretch before rising Run romp and play daily,. Do not take life too seriously
Thrive on attention and let people touch you. Avoid biting, when a simple growl will do. In other words keep your temper under control.

On warm days stop to lie on your back on the grass. On hot days drink lots of water and lay under a shady tree. Life is too short to always be about things make time to just be.

When you’re happy dance around and do not be afraid to show that you are.
No matter how often you’re scolded, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout, run right back and make friends. Friends are too important to take umbrage at.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk, and e at with gusto and enthusiasm, let people know you are enjoying being there.

Stop when you have had enough.

Be loyal, and never pretend to be something you’re not.
If what you want lies buried,dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day,be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
There is no harm whatsoever in being just like a dog. Have a wonderful day.

Friday, 29 July 2016


Yesterday I harvested my potatoes. I only have a small patch where I can grow vegetables where I now live, I used to have an enormous plot of vegetables. it therefore gave me even more pleasure to be able to harvest these. I was happily surprised to see just how many I managed to gather and they were looking so good the skins smooth and fresh. I could almost taste them. OK so it is only a crop of potatoes. But they also brought memories. 
When I was a boy growing up my father had two large vegetable plots where he grew a large variety of vegetables making us almost self sufficient in such produce. He also kept a number of neighbours going in fresh vegetables. 
I can still remember the potato planting days.   After my Dad had tilled the soil, we went to work. It was my job to drop the little seed potatoes in the rows along with handfuls of manure. My father  then covered them all with the freshly turned earth, and built the mounds in which the potatoes would grow.
For months afterward I would glance over at the garden while I played outside and wonder what was going on underneath the ground. When the harvest time came I was amazed at the huge size of the potatoes my Dad pulled out of the soil. Those little seedlings had grown into bushels and bushels of sweet sustenance. They would be turned into meal after meal of baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, fried potatoes.  They would keep the entire family well fed throughout the whole year. It truly was a miracle to behold.
Thinking back on those special times makes me wonder how many other seeds I have planted in this life that have grown unseen in the hearts and minds of others.  How many times have those little seedlings to provided another’s soul with sweet sustenance?
Every single day of our lives we step out into the garden of this world. Every single day we plant seeds that can grow into something wonderful. We may never see the growth that comes from the kind words or loving acts we share but God does. I hope then that you always tend the garden around you with care. I hope that you plant only goodness, peace, and compassion in the lives of everyone you meet. I hope that everyday you help miracles to grow.
Have a good day and go plant some seeds of hope into the lives of those around.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

A Glass of Water.

There is beauty even on a rainy day. 

I heard somebody make comment yesterday about whether the glass was half full or half empty. I could not help but smile because I know that I had used this example at least once in each of the congregations I was a minister. I also used this as a simple example to the many classes of students I taught during my time as a teacher. 

I often expected there to be a groan from somebody who had heard me using this in another context but it did not ever seem to happen. Maybe I was just fortunate or maybe people and students were just too kind to me. 

This reminded me of the time I was studying psychology at university.

The psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to us students.
 As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: ”How heavy is this glass of water?”
Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.
She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”
She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralysed – incapable of doing anything.”
She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralysed – incapable of doing anything.”
How true that is and a lesson worthy of reminding ourselves of as often as we can. Do not take your stress to bed and have a stressful sleepless night. 
I used to remind my congregations that too many people came to church and left their worries and stress outside the door. Sadly they picked them up on the way back out. What they should have done was brought them into the building and left them there on the way out. 
Have a wonderful stress free day. 

Wednesday, 27 July 2016


Sunflowers never fail to make me smile. In fact while out cycling the other week there I passed a whole field of sunflowers not only did they make me smile I can swear that I laughed. I am happy to say that the road I was cycling down was empty of any other person so there was nobody there to suggest that maybe I was losing the plot.

On the other hand yesterday I visited the local store. There were a group of young people in the store each trying to decide what the treat for the day was to be. One of them said something I did not hear but they all burst out into happy laughter. Then one of them pointed to one of the other girls and made a comment about her funny laughter. I knew instantly what that young girl was feeling. When I was younger I had a hearty laugh but when I started working one person tried to give me a nickname because of my laugh. I felt that I never wanted to laugh again. Instead I quietly said to him, "At least I seem to be happy at my work, which is more than you seem to be." 

I was walking with my father one day I was told him about this. His words were fast and simple, "Never stop people doing two things no matter how badly they do them, Laughing or singing. Just rejoice in their happiness."

Some people think laughter is a waste of time. It is a luxury, they say, a frivolity, something to indulge in only every so often.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Laughter is essential to our equilibrium, to our well-being, to our aliveness. If we’re not well, laughter helps us get well; if we are well, laughter helps us stay that way.
Since some ground-breaking subjective work, scientific studies have shown that laughter has a curative effect on the body, the mind and the emotions.
So, if you like laughter, consider it sound medical advice to indulge in it as often as you can. 
If you don’t like laughter, then take your medicine – laugh anyway.
Use whatever makes you laugh – movies, sitcoms, for me Monty Python, records, books,  cartoons, jokes, and above all friends.
Give yourself permission to laugh – long and loud and out loud – whenever anything strikes you as funny. 
The people around you may think you’re strange, but sooner or later they’ll join in even if they don’t know what you’re laughing about.
Some diseases may be contagious, but none is as much as laughter. 
What made me laugh yesterday. It was a picture posted on a friends FB. It was our new foreign secretary settling into his job. he was sitting looking at his computer and asking, "Where has Rhodesia gone?" 
Have a laughter filled day. I wonder what will make me laugh today I have a feeling I know.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Grey Hairs.

yesterday I conducted the funeral of my father in law. I am sure my family is no different from all the families in that it is often only at funerals and weddings that you meet some of the members of your family. it is a shame because it is always nice to meet and see how people are getting on. 

The down side is that you also see how people have aged since the last time you saw them. As much as people say, "You are looking great," you know that you are looking older. The grey hairs are showing and the lines that were not there the last time you met.

I was thinking about this last night as I reflected on the day. I remembered the story of the young boy.

A young boy was looking intently at his mother. He all of a sudden said to her, "Mum why is it that you have some white hairs on your head?" The mother thought this was an ideal opportunity to teach  a lesson. She looked at hime and said, " Overtime you misbehave, or do not do what you are told, another grey hair appears on my head."

The young boy looked at his mother seriously and very thoughtfully. "So that is why granny has nothing but white hairs on her head!'

Have a wonderful day and do not go looking at the grey hairs and blaming me. 

Monday, 25 July 2016

The path.

I walked some forest trails yesterday quietly getting myself ready for today. It is amazing the maze of paths there are in the forest I was walking. As I passed one path after another I found myself wondering where each one went. There are some I have ventured along but a great many yet to be explored. 

How do we ever know what is the right path? How do we know we are making the right decisions?

There is the tale of the master and his disciple.

A master was strolling through a field of wheat when a disciple came up to him and asked, “I can’t tell which is the true path. 
What’s the secret?”
“What does that ring on your right hand mean?” – asked the master.
“My father gave it to me before dying.”
“Well, give it to me.”
The disciple obeyed, and the master tossed the ring into the middle of the field of wheat.
“Now what?” – shouted the disciple.
“Now I have to stop doing everything I was doing to look for the ring! It’s important to me!”
“When you find it, remember this: You yourself answered the question you asked me. 
That is how you tell the true path: 
It is more important than all the rest. 

Sunday, 24 July 2016

The Plum Tree.

Yesterday I had a laugh with some friends. They have a new garden and are a bit lost with what they want to do with it. But hey they have the power of google so all their questions can be answered.  One of the things the man asked was , " Why are my plums so small?"

Now everybody burst out laughing, I have no idea why..  I was busy thinking about  the tree covered in little plums. I was also remembering the plum tree that grew in the grounds of one of the churches where I was minister. I was also aware of how long we had to wait to get the fruit from that tree. Often I had to pick them when they were still hard and not yet ripe because they were being removed by winds or young lads using them to throw at my hens or each other. 

This reminded me of the story of the tree and the four sons. 

There was a man who had four sons. He wanted them to learn not to judge things too quickly. So he sent them on a quest each in turn to look at a plum tree that grew out in the far lands. 

The first son went in the winter the second in spring the third in the summer and the fourth in the autumn.

Once they had all visited the tree he got them together to tell what they had seen. 

The first one told that he had seen an old gnarled and ugly tree that was no use to anybody. The second son said not he had seen a tree covered in buds and full of promise. The third son told of the beautiful scented blossom and the last son of a tree full of beautiful tasty plums. 

The man explained to his sons that they were all right because each had seen the same tree but each during a different season.

The essence of who were are, the pleasure love and joy that come to our lives, can only be measured at the end, when all the seasons of our life are over. If we give up in the winter then we miss the promise of our spring and if we allow the pains of life dictate we miss the autumn full of colour and joy.

Sure it is nice to get things in a flash, and we are often told to strike while the iron is hot. However the best things in life are often worth waiting for and savoured in their fulness. 

Tomorrow I conduct the funeral of my father in law after a long and full life. He certainly saw all the seasons and life was not always easy but he lived it to the full and certainly knew that patience and the long game was often the best. 

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Learn to Fly.


I never had the pleasure of meeting this doubt I did this little painting from a picture just before I left to go to France. I am told this little dog was a real character and known by everybody. it brought much pleasure to its owners before it died.  

It is amazing the joy that animals can bring into your life. Last night I spent some time with my son and daughter in law. They had their dog with them and I could not believe they had bought it a little bottle of dog beer so that it could have its drink while we had ours. 

Now that is how to exploit your owners. I was amazed to see that whatever it was the dog enjoyed it and drank every last lick of it. 

It reminded me of the story of the king and his two falcons. 

Once there was a king who received a gift of two magnificent falcons. They were peregrine falcons, the most beautiful birds he had ever seen. He gave the precious birds to his head falconer to be trained.
Months passed, and one day the head falconer informed the king that though one of the falcons was flying majestically, soaring high in the sky, the other bird had not moved from its branch since the day it had arrived.
The king summoned healers and sorcerers from all the land to tend to the falcon, but no one could make the bird fly.
He presented the task to the member of his court, but the next day, the king saw through the palace window that the bird had still not moved from its perch.
Having tried everything else, the king thought to himself, “May be I need someone more familiar with the countryside to understand the nature of this problem.” So he cried out to his court, “Go and get a farmer.”
In the morning, the king was thrilled to see the falcon soaring high above the palace gardens. He said to his court, “Bring me the doer of this miracle.”
The court quickly located the farmer, who came and stood before the king. The king asked him, “How did you make the falcon fly?”
With his head bowed, the farmer said to the king, “It was very easy, your highness. I simply cut the branch where the bird was
We are all made to fly to reach our true potential as human beings. But at times we sit on our little branches clinging to the things that  we are familiar with. The possibilities are endless but they remain undiscovered.

Today be a falcon and let go and soar high. Have a great day. 

Friday, 22 July 2016

Nothing comes easy

Some of us just take life for granted. We are fortunate to have all things going our way. I was touched to read a story once that that was vey true.. My own son lost an eye at a very early stage in his life  and I just know that no matter what i would have done everything for the miracle. I would have given my eye so that he did not have to go though what he has done. I would have died if i had the chance to change they way things were working out.

But life is never so easy it was was a great deal of joy that I remembered this very true story. I remembered this as i wandered down memory lane of the high street of my birthplace yesterday.

This is a true story.
Tess was a precocious eight year old when she heard her Mother and Father talking about her little brother, Andrew. All she knew was that he was very sick and they were completely out of money. They were moving to an apartment complex next month because Dad  didn’t have the money for the doctor bills and our house. Only a very costly surgery could save him now and it was looking like there was no-one to loan them the money. She heard Dad say to her tearful Mother with whispered desperation, “Only a miracle can save him now.”
Tess went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet. She poured all the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes. Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way  to Rexall’s Drug Store with the big red Indian Chief sign above the door. She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention but he was too busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise. Nothing. She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster. No good.
Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter. That did it!
“And what do you want?” the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice. “I’m talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven’t seen in ages,” he said without waiting for a reply to his question.
“Well, I want to talk to you about my brother,” Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone. “He’s really, really sick… and I want to buy a miracle.”
“I beg your pardon?” said the pharmacist.
“His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?”
“His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?”
“We don’t sell miracles here, little girl. I’m sorry but I can’t help you,” the pharmacist said, softening a little. “Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn’t enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs.”
The pharmacist’s brother was a well dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, “What kind of a miracle does you brother need?”
“I don’t know,” Tess replied with her eyes welling up. “I just know he’s really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But my Daddy can’t pay for it, so I want to use my money.”
“How much do you have?” asked the man from Chicago. “One dollar and eleven cents,” Tess answered barely audibly. “And it’s all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to.
“Well, what a coincidence,” smiled the man. “A dollar and eleven cents – the exact price of a miracle for little brothers.” He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said, “Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let’s see if I have the kind of miracle you need.”
That well dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specialising in neuro-surgery. The operation was completed without charge and it wasn’t long until Andrew was home again and doing well. Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place.
“That surgery,” her Mom whispered. “was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?”
Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost… one dollar and eleven cents … plus the faith of a little child.

To this day I wish i had the money for such a miracle. But remember miracles lie within the grasp of us all.

Some miracles we have to reach for and some requires us to bring our own spoon. More of the tin another blog.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

The Email.

Emails are marvellous things. You can get an almost instant response to any question you send to another person. Using messenger can be even more instant. I can remember the days when communication with another, not even abroad could take over a week. You sent off your letter and you waited and waited for the response. 

I remember when I was around about six years old. At this age I had one of my very first real adventures. I was going all the way from where I lived to visit and stay for the holidays with my grandmother. The journey was by train and bus and I was going alone.  My mother put me on the train and I made the journey that seemed to last for ages, it was probably about an hour. On arrival I had to walk to the bus station and get on the correct bus to go to my grans. What an adventure. 

The strange thing about all of this was that my mother gave me a postcard, already written with the words, "Arrived safely," on it and a stamp. On arrival at my gransI was to post this in the post box. It would take at least three days to arrive durning which time had things gone wrong I would be well and truly in deep trouble. 

That said the instant of email and messaging is how easy it is to get things wrong. To send something off with often not a great deal of thought. 

There is a story.

A couple were going on holiday.  The wife had an unexpected meeting to take care of before she could leave. It was agreed he would head off to their destination as planned and she would join him in the evening of the next day.  
When he reached the hotel, he decided to send his wife a quick email.
Unfortunately, when typing her address, he mistyped a letter and his note was directed instead to an elderly preacher’s wife whose husband had passed away only the day before.
When the grieving widow checked her email, she took one look at the monitor, let out a piercing scream, and fell to the floor in a dead faint.
At the sound, her family rushed into the room and saw this note on the screen:
Dearest Wife,
Just got checked in. Everything prepared for your arrival tomorrow.
P.S. Sure is hot down here.
Emails oh how careful we have to be. Have a great day.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016


 There is a roundabout not far from where I live, it is the meeting point of four roads. I do not know what it is about this roundabout that makes people act differently on it than on all others. Yesterday I was out on my bike and as I arrived at the roundabout two cars arrived almost at the same time. One was coming from my right the other from my left. 

Now I knew that the car to my right had priority over me, but I had priority over the car coming to the roundabout from the left. The strange thing about this roundabout is that so often the car coming from my left  just continues down the hill and over the roundabout as if it was not there at all.

I have become ultra cautious at this roundabout because I have almost been knocked off my bike on a number of occasions.  Sadly it is not a route that i can avoid easily it leads out of the village and onward towards some beautiful places. 

So I have learned in this case not to jump to conclusions, not to assume the highway code will be followed. 

How I wish I could take the same lesson to all other parts of my life. I am sure like me you know people who are prone to jumping to conclusions. I know I can be very guilty of it and how often I get it wrong.  

There is a story about a policeman returning home after a hectic day.

A policeman was heading home after a long, hard day. He had dealt with a whole succession of difficult people, and a mountain of frustrating paperwork. All he wanted at this point was to kick back, unwind, enjoy some peace and quiet, and maybe watch a few  easy programmes on TV.
But, as he neared home, he was startled by a vehicle that came careening around a sharp curve and narrowly missed his car. As the car passed within a few inches of him, the other driver shouted “Pig!”
The police officer was suddenly energized. He slammed on brakes, all set to turn his  car around and head off in hot pursuit. But as he rounded the curve, … he ran head-on into a large pig that was standing in the middle of the road!
It is a lesson we can all learn. No matter how confident we are in our understanding of the issue, no matter how certain of another person reasoning or motive, we should never jump to conclusions. 

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Life is either black or white?

I watched two boys fighting yesterday. I do not have a clue what it was all about and I did not stop to ask I just cycled on. Gone seem to be the days when I would have stopped and tried to intervene. Society is such now that good intentions are so often easily misinterpreted. So many of the things we see that in the past we might have tried to put right is left and in the long run it can only get worse. 

As I near the fag end of my life I can reflect and say with hand on heart that I only ever had one fight . It was during my school days and I really cannot remember what it was about at all, but it was enough for two punches to be thrown. 

I was reported to the headmaster by the other boys parents.  We were both called to the headmasters room in the presence of the mother of the boy. When we both walked in  and the mother saw her son standing next to me her whole attitude changed. He stood towering over me, I was after all the smallest boy in the class. The headteacher asked us what it was all about and in the end we were asked to shake hands and go back to our classes. A storm in a teacup. 

This reminded me of another boy telling of a similar experience this time with a clever and wise teacher.

When I was in school, I got into a major argument with a boy in my class. I have forgotten what the argument was about, but I have never forgotten the lesson I learned that day.
I was convinced that “I” was right and “he” was wrong – and he was just as convinced that “I” was wrong and “he” was right. The teacher decided to teach us a very important lesson.
She brought us up to the front of the class and placed him on one side of her desk and me on the other. In the middle of her desk was a large, round object. I could clearly see that it was black. She asked the boy what colour the object was. “White,” he answered.
I couldn’t believe he said the object was white, when it was obviously black! Another argument started between my classmate and me, this time about the colour of the object.
The teacher told me to go stand where the boy was standing and told him to come stand where I had been. We changed places, and now she asked me what the colour of the object was. I had to answer, “White.”
It was an object with two differently coloured sides, and from his viewpoint it was white. Only from my side it was black.
Life is never just black or white even the symbol of the yin yang has a black dot in the white and a white dot in the black, and not by accident. 

Have a colourful day full of brightness and peace. 

Monday, 18 July 2016

The Balloons.

Two things implanted on my mind yesterday. It was a quiet day and I was feeling lazy and reflective. My son called to say he had booked a tee at the golf course. 

We would have been better staying quiet and reflective. The quality of golf we played was to say the very least mediocre. MY excuse was that I had not had a club in my hands for the two months I was in France so I had an excuse.  I know that the real trouble was that we were both in fact trying far too hard to hit good shots.  It was only when I began to think this in the great scheme of life and death was not important that the golf got better. 

On my way home I saw a Young girl with her parents. She was carrying a ballon and her face was full of smiles and joy. She was looking up at the balloon as it twisted and turned on the end of the string she was holding firmly.

This reminded me of a story I heard some years ago.

 A group of 50 people were attending a seminar.
The speaker stopped and started giving each person a balloon. Each one was asked to write his/her name on it using a marker pen. Then all the balloons were collected and put into a small adjoining room.
The attendees were let in that room and asked to find the balloon which had their name written, within 5 minutes.
Everyone was frantically searching for their name, pushing, colliding with each other, all trying so very hard to find their balloon. It was utter chaos. A bit like my golf.
After about five minutes of this one or two had managed to find their balloon.
The speaker then said that each person was to go and collect one balloon and give it to the person whose name was written on it and on the label each person was wearing. Within minutes everybody had their balloon. 
The speaker then told the reassembled group: " This is exactly what is happening in our lives. We are all frantically looking for happiness and the meaning of life, none of us knowing where to find it.  Our happiness its in the happiness of other people. Give them happiness and you will find your own 
And this  is as close as it gets to the purpose of life.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

It is ok.

My biggest problem in life is that I have often been guilty of putting my mouth into action without first engaging my brain. Others would be much more kindly and say that with me I call a spade a spade and not a shovel. 

One way or another over the years of my life I have often opened my mouth when it would have been much  wiser to have my thoughts and say nothing. 

It was the buddha who speaking to his student threw a people into a river  and told his student that his words and actions were just like that. The consequences of our actions and our words can ripple out and effect the lives of others. The ripples once started cannot be stopped and the consequences of our actions once started cannot be pulled back. 

My friend made a comment when I had a slow puncture on my bike tyre. He said it will be ok because it is only on one side. Of course he said it with a big grin. 

There is a story of two men sharing a boat. One of the men started to drill a hole in the boat. The other man shouted at him aghast, "Stop that at once!" The other man said in reply , "It is ok I am only doing it on my side."

The words we speak can bring healing and help or they can bring hurt and pain. There are no actions or words that do not bring with them consequences either good or bad. 

What I have learned.

One of the good things about getting older is the fact that you have learned a great deal over the years. Well, you would think you have at least learned somethings. I have to say that I have met some people who seem to negate this statement of fact. 

There are always those whom you can meet who no matter their age they have never learned to be kind or courteous and treat people with respect. There are always those who seem never to have learned that just because they have believed something for years it does not meet that it is a fact. It is possible to go through life believing that what you think is always right. 

I was thinking about this just this morning when I met just such a person. 

Thankfully there are some things I have learned as I have gone through life. here are just a few of them. 

1. Never take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.
2. There can be a fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness. I often worry when I stand before a canvas if I am suffering from a delusion. 
3. You should never confuse your career with your life. You are not the job you do the job is the thing you do to let you get on with life.
4. No matter what happens in life, somebody will find a way to take it too seriously.
5. Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.And nobody cares if you have a silly laugh as long as you are laughing.
6. Never lick a steak knife.
7. Take out the fortune before you eat the cookie.
8. The most destructive force in the universe is gossip
9. A person who is nice to you but rude to the waiter is not a nice person.
 Have a good day and remember , "Every day is a school day."

Friday, 15 July 2016

The little wave.

Yesterday my father in law passed away. He died of nothing more than old age. His time had come the journey was over. Today I would not wish to make an moe comment than tell a simple story. It is a story I think of often at such times. Thought my ministry I returned to this story often 

I give it to you for your thought.

Once upon a time there was a Wave. She liked to frolic with the wind. She liked to caress the rocks on the shore.
Once she got into a strange bay. There was a Cliff. He stood in the middle of the bay. The Wave became friends with Cliff. They could talk for hours. They spent all time together.
Once the Wave realized that she loved the Cliff. He also liked funny and careless Wave. But he told her:
No, you can‘t love me. I am a stone. I am a Cliff. I don‘t know how to love. I will break you.
But the Wave did not want to back down. She tried to hug Cliff and was scattered by thousands of gold spray. But Wave tried to do this again. She forced herself just to communicate with Cliff. She carefully took off shells, sticking on him. But Cliff said:
I am strong. I am a stone. I don‘t need your care.
Once again the Wave rushed towards him. Once again the sprays glistened on the wind…
The years passed. The Wave still loved the Cliff. He pretended not noticing this. She tried to approach him – and still has been broken.
One morning the Wave disappeared. The Cliff woke up and did not see her nearby. But he forced himself not to think about it. Days went by, but she did not appear.
Several years have passed, and the Wave came back. She has changed a lot. She knew a lot more about life now. She was no longer so thoughtless and careless. But she still loved the Cliff. And he … he pretended that it does not matter that she came back, because he was a stone. How could he afford a weakness for the Wave?
Many years have passed. The Wave still talked with the Cliff, but there were no more intimate conversations and long night vigils. The Cliff was getting older. Water undermined it. And the Wave was travelling, learning new countries and cities, new people. Somehow, returning home, she realized that she no longer thought of the Cliff. The Cliff also understood that. And he also understood that could not live without her, without her stories about the cities and foreign shores, without her twitter about everything. One day the Cliff told her:
Yes, I am a stone. Yes, I am a Cliff. But I cannot live without you.
And he fell into the waves. And the Wave… she just kissed him saying goodbye.
May you have a peaceful day.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

The Bank of Life.

It is amazing what we call a holiday. Having just spent almost two months in France , "on holiday," I was looking back at all the pictures I took and the places I saw. I looked at all the paintings I had done. Checked the milage on my cycle computer. Thought of all the walks I had done. It really did not fit with my idea of holiday. 

The dictionary says that holiday is,"A time when someone does not go to work or school but is free to do what they want, such as travel or relax."

I suppose I did some of those but relax was certainly not one of them.  Strange how we all look at the idea of holidays. If you google the word you will be faced by a barrage of tour companies trying to get you to purchase a package holiday. Tempting you with cheap prices. 

Holiday in fact comes from the two words, "Holy Day."  Those were the few days set aside when you did not work but took time to think of spiritual matters. Well gone are those days I suspect. 

Was it all worth it? Of course it was and I would do it all again tomorrow. Why? because in reality I probably do and achieve more because I realise that this is not going to last for ever I am working on a limited timescale. Then when it is over  as my father used to say, "It is back to old clothes and tattoos and mince." Back to normality. Sadly normality often means not using time to its fullest or best.

I was thinking about this .

Imagine there is a bank which credits your account each morning with £86,400, carries over no balance from day to day, allows you to keep no cash balance, and every evening cancels whatever part of the amount you had failed to use during the day. What would you do? 

Draw out every pound, of course!

Well, everyone has such a bank. Its name is Time. 

Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds. 

Every night it writes off, as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose. It carries over no balance. It allows no overdraft. Each day it opens a new account for you. 

Each night it burns the records of the day. If you fail to use the day's deposits, the loss is yours.

There is no going back. There is no drawing against the "tomorrow". Therefore, there is never not enough time or too much time. 

Time management is decided by us alone and nobody else. It is never the case of us not having enough time to do things, but the case of whether we want to do it.

Make every day a holiday, and use it to the full. Make it a Holy Day special and to be used wisely.

Have a great day.