Monday, April 28, 2008


What impact does Jesus' death on the the cross and resurrection have on your life? I mean really have on your life?

If you're a Christian, then Jesus' death and resurrection obviously has a pretty big impact on your life and you consider it to be extremely significant. But how big exactly is that impact?

A couple weeks ago someone was talking about how Jesus' sacrifice is the ultimate sacrifice; there has never been a more significant sacrifice in history and there will never be a more significant sacrifice in the future; Jesus' sacrifice and resurrection are perfect and complete in every detail - God didn't miss anything out and He didn't mess it up; the love that God has for us that is demonstrated by what Jesus did on the cross is too great for us to ever begin to imagine - we will never be able to comprehend exactly what an amazing and awesome love God has for each and every one of us!

Being a Christian, Jesus' death and resurrection have made an eternal difference to my life and what I do; it's something that I've heard talked about many times before; but as I sat there I was struck by what was being said and my thoughts were almost ground to a halt as the enormity of what Jesus did for us hit me in a new way.

Something so awesome should change our lives forever in such a totally uncomprehending way! Something so beautiful should affect everything we think, say and do! Something so completely and ultimately perfect should touch and change everything about us and our lives so much that everyone around us is touched and changed by it too! A love so big and sacrificial and unselfish should make us see ourselves and the people around us as the unique and precious people that we are!

These thoughts have left me looking at my own relationship with God and my own life and asking myself, "So how is this awesome sacrifice that Jesus made for us changing my life forever and how is that change in me changing the lives of the people around me?"

How is this awesome sacrifice that Jesus made for us changing YOUR life and how is that change in you changing the lives of the people around YOU?

Monday, October 8, 2007

Take A Minute Of Your Time

Maybe I thought that writing a post about welcoming myself back would somehow provide not only the inspiration, but the time needed to get back to blog-writing. The answer to that theory is self-evident.

Time is an amazing and unique quality. It's a very precious commodity. It can be so frustrating. It is both very rare and amazingly abundant.

One day I found this quote and it's been stuck up in my room ever since: "Time is that quality of nature that stops things from happening all at once. Lately it doesn't seem to have been working." The author of that quote wisely chose to remain unknown.

I just had time to make a sandwich and grab an apple before running out of the door and spending the next little while trying not to get mayo over the steering-wheel as i tried to eat and drive at the same time.

I just had time to look at the rising sun painting the fall trees a beautiful golden color through the early-morning mist.

This post is a little disjointed and rambling, but I wanted to say something and maybe you'll think about what I've been thinking about.

Time can sometimes seem so short and there can sometimes be so many things to be done.
Don't just rush from place to place and chore to chore, ticking the accomplished tasks off your list.

Stop for a minute and think about the things that are the most important to you. Take a minute to thank God for sending Jesus. Take a minute to say thank you when somebody says something nice. take a minute to hug your sister. Take a minute to look at the sunshine. Take a minute to rustle the fall leaves under your feet. Take a minute to feel the wind and the crisp air on your face.

Take a minute to say thank you that you're alive, that you have time, that you have things to do.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Coffee And Halos

One Sunday I had to be at church early for a meeting over breakfast. As I walked toward the door I realized there were a couple of hobos out on the steps folding up their blankets. I smiled at them as I walked past and got inside the building.

A couple minutes later they came and joined us and we gave them coffee and bacon for breakfast. We talked to them, asked them what their names were, found out some of their life histories and chatted for a while.

We didn't get much of a meeting done and we had to talk about some stuff with them sitting there, but it was the right thing to do.

It reminded me of that verse in the Bible that says that by welcoming people and helping them you might be entertaining angels unawares. I don't think you should only help people for that reason, but who knows that maybe one day we might give coffee and bacon to an angel?

After all, it's not every day you have hobos to breakfast in a church!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Welcome Back!

Can you welcome yourself back to your own blog? I'm not 100% sure of the formalities involved, so I'll just go ahead and welcome myself back to my blog!

Of course, it may well be that it has been such a very long time since I last posted here that all my readers have disappeared. I would not blame you. It is very hard to read a blog where nothing is written. I sympathize with your predicament.

Even the most dedicated and self-disciplined of the human race (and I can by no means hope to aspire to this title) are apt to fall behind at times. When I first started on my Blog Journey, I was resolved to write as often as at least every other day and never to become slack and fail to post for weeks on end - a practice I always find singularly irritating among my fellow blog-writers.

I seem to remember writing a couple of months ago about pride coming before a fall, but here I am again. My blog-pride has well and truly fallen.

What excuse can I offer? Certainly none which would be satisfactory. Can I claim a new job which has me trying (and failing) to reach new levels in time-management? Can I claim trips to far-flung corners of the country to attend conferences? Can I claim getting delayed for hours on my journey home? Can I claim multiple birthdays descending upon me all at the same time? Can I claim special secret birthday projects which should have been finished at least two or three weeks ago?

I knew you were not going to be impressed, but along with my sincere apologies I would like to claim a little bit of your sympathy when you are tempted to leave scorching comments of reproach - I have a cold that is making my head feel twice its normal nice, my throat like I just swallowed sandpaper and my poor little nose like it's been rubbed with pumice-stone every morning for the last 4 weeks. I also have some nasty little lump in my throat that is making me feel decidedly nasty every time I swallow.

I would like to end by wishing all my readers a very happy and cold-free week!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A Crisis Man

"Father, make me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road; make me a fork, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me."
Jim Elliot

Monday, September 3, 2007

The Cooking Of The Chocolate Cake

I was one of those cooks who liked to share the whole cooking with as many people (and things) as possible.

When I tapped an egg on the side of the bowl I liked to share the experience with the floor as well.

When I cooked Sticky Fruit Balls, I liked to have as many ingredients as possible join in the fun. It didn't really matter if all the ingredients that were supposed to be in the Fruit Balls weren't in there and all the ingredients that weren't supposed to be in the Fruit Balls were in there. I didn't really care that I improvised a bit too much and nobody could eat them, the point is, everything joined in and had fun.

When I cooked the soup, I thought it was a shame to leave out all of the water in the tap that could have been in the soup, so mixing the measurements round the wrong way on the jug just helped me carry out my noble intentions. Cooking the soup for a couple of hours in the microwave and still having crunchy onions was just a small sacrifice we had to pay.

Add to this list leaving the salt out of the bread, using the wrong butter in the frosting, forgetting to turn the oven on, leaving the eggs out of the cake, ignoring the kitchen timer when it went off, using the wrong flour in the cake and you're getting about the right idea. My cooking was a little - experimental and erratic.

Over the years, my culinary skills have improved. Granted I still put too much milk in the mashed potatoes so they taste lumpy, granted I still burn the fries, granted last time I did Cesar Salad it was the most disgusting thing I had eaten that month and granted my Mom and sister sometimes still look at what I have cooked and then look at each other with a "we've got to eat that?!" look, but never mind. My pies were kindly said to be unexceptional and I have most graciously been granted the title of Muffin Queen.

Armed with this encouragement, I baked a chocolate cake. This was no ordinary chocolate cake. This was a Death-By-Chocolate-Chocolate-Cake. This was serious business.

I shall make no apologies for saying that it was a brilliant success. It was totally yummy and fully justified its name. It looked fantastic and tasted like your dream chocolate cake (or what your dream chocolate cake would taste like if you dreamed about chocolate cake).

Sadly, my preparation methods did not reach the same dream-like quality. I have never dreamed about making a chocolate cake, but I am sure that if I ever did, it would bear no resemblance to what happened The Day I Cooked The Chocolate Cake.

I got in a fuss over the eggs. I ran out of flour one cup into the measuring. I couldn't find the sugar. I drained one bottle of oil and had to start on another. I didn't start with enough clean cup-measurements. I didn't use a big enough bowl.

That was the real mistake - the bowl was just a few inches too small. The mixture fit in alright, but when you added the electric beaters ...

Thankfully I had had the foresight to wear an apron. In general I dislike wearing aprons, but that day it saved my top from almost sure destruction.

All was going quite well. I was happily beating away and then ... I lifted the beaters one little one-eighth of an inch too high. Really it was quite artistic, if you look at it in the right way. My apron had a lovely brown ring around the middle. The wall had been redecorated for free. If I had been in another part of the kitchen I'm sure the brown spots on the floor would have covered up the holes in the lino beautifully. Why do they always make beaters white the whole time? Spotted ones look far more like ... well ... like they've just been covered in spots of chocolate cake batter.

Oh well, cake eaten and lesson learned. Today, I was making another chocolate cake for more guests. Bigger bowl - much bigger bowl. I carefully measured everything out beforehand and the only thing I ran out of this time was hot water. I was most circumspect with the beaters, keeping them well down in the bowl and carefully tilting the bowl so that if anything splashed, it should be on me, not on the shelves at the back of the counter.

Mix the oil and sugar ... add the eggs ... fold in the flour, cinnamon and coca-powder ... hmm, thats looking a bit thick and stodgy for the beaters, better start adding some of the coffee now ... In went the coffee, sitting in a nice brown lake on top of the sticky mixture. In went the beaters, I moved the dial ... and drops of brown coffee flew in all directions. Over the bowls, the shelves, the counter, the wall and me. This time it decided the floor was beneath its notice but if come spring-cleaning time we find brown spots on the ceiling, I shall not be one bit surprised.

This time the cake is not to be eaten straight away, but will stay in the freezer until next week. I hope that it tastes good.

If it doesn't, maybe I'll take up painting and interior decorating as an alternative to cooking.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Happy September!!

Oh, and I hope you all have a great September and enjoy the fall!!

Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today

"I read about a phenomenon in Marin County, California. Someone put up a sign on the Interstate: "Perform a random act of kindness today." Sure enough, reports came in, slowly at first, of people paying the toll for cars behind them ... people stopping to help stranded vehicles ... One man was caught in traffic. His cellular phone not working, he typed a sign on his laptop computer and printed it on his car fax: LATE FOR ANNIVERSARY DINNER CALL MY WIFE AND TELL HER I LOVE HER (phone number). He came home an hour later to find that seventy people had called, one of them sent a bouquet of flowers, another sent a voucher for dinner for two at the local poshest resort. Over a four-month period, crime dropped 7 percent."
D.P.E. - R.H.Readings

What would happen if we all started performing random acts of kindness? Right now! How soon and how much would it spread? What would happen if those random acts of kindness were performed in Jesus' Name?

Friday, August 31, 2007

Another Corrie Ten Boom Quote

I was sent this quote by a friend and thought that it was definitely worth sharing with you all.

When Jesus takes your hand, He keeps you tight. When Jesus keeps you tight, He leads you through your whole life. When Jesus leads you through your life, He brings you safely home.
Corrie Ten Boom

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

When Life Is Confusing

"When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don't throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer."
Corrie Ten Boom

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Drop A Pebble In The Water

Drop a pebble in the water; just a splash, and it is gone;
But there's half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on,
Spreading, spreading from the center, flowing on out to the sea.
And there is no way of telling where the end is going to be.

Drop a pebble in the water; in a minute you forget,
But there's little waves a-flowing, and there's ripples circling yet,
And those little waves a-flowing to a great big wave have grown;
You've disturbed a mighty river just by dropping in a stone.

Drop an unkind word, or careless: in a minute it is gone;
But there's half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on.
They keep spreading, spreading, spreading from the center as they go,
And there is no way to stop them, once you've started them to flow.

Drop an unkind word, or careless: in a minute you forget;
But there's little waves a-flowing, and there's ripples circling yet,
And perhaps in some sad heart a mighty wave of tears you've stirred,
And disturbed a life was happy ere you dropped that unkind word.

Drop a word of cheer and kindness: just a flash and it is gone;
But there's half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on,
Bearing hope and joy and comfort on each splashing, dashing wave
Til you wouldn't believe the volume of the one kind word you gave.

Drop a word of cheer and kindness: in a minute you forget;
But there's gladness still a-swelling, and there's joy a-circling yet,
And you've rolled a wave of comfort whose sweet music can be heard
Over miles and miles of water just by dropping one kind word.

James W. Foley

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Perfect Picnic

It was a perfect summer day. There was a nice breeze. We had a day's vacation. We went for a picnic.

Picnics are such fun. Just lying in the grass; staring up at the blue sky through the branches of the tree; feeling the breeze stirring your hair; the warmth of the sun on your arms. Just lying around and being lazy and doing nothing except eat.

That was what struck me - we were just sitting there eating. The total aim and purpose of this trip was to eat. We went to all that effort to get together food, pack up the car, head out on the road, find some nice grass and share our space with the bugs and what were we doing? Eating. I decided to voice my thoughts.

"Does it strike anyone that we're just sitting here eating?"

My sister viewed me consideringly, head on one side.

"Well, you are just sitting there stuffing your face."

Sisters are so wonderfully blunt sometimes. She hastened to assure me that she didn't mean 'you' as in 'you', just 'you' as in 'one'. Problem is, I was just sitting there stuffing my face. I wouldn't have chosen to phrase it that way if I had been left to pick the terminology myself, but beat around the bush however much you like, when it comes down to the basic facts, that was what I was doing.

That picnic was so much fun. We were really silly and laughed until we nearly choked; we made a lot of noise and made people stare at us; we lay around in the grass and just talked (and ate). We enjoyed the sun and the grass, the laughter and time with each other.

Life isn't perfect, but it has its perfect moments.

That picnic was definitely one of those perfect moments.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Home Again

I've been away for a few days, visiting a friend and having a wonderful time. Spending time with friends is special and I was made to feel very welcome, but there is nothing quite like coming home again.

As I got out of the car my sister was waiting for me on the doorstep and as soon as I reached the door she gave me a massive hug and said how glad she was that I was home again. I walked into the kitchen and got another big hug.

After I had chatted in the kitchen for a bit I went upstairs to my room and found a freshly-made bed, a vacuumed floor and a vase of flowers from the garden sitting on my dresser.

Sitting round the table at supper I sat back and listening to everyone talking at once and trying to tell all the news from the past couple of days in 3 minutes maximum.

A little later my sisters and I all squashed on the couch together to watch a movie. We talked to the characters on the screen when they did something particularly stupid and we kept a running commentary going throughout most of the movie.

The noise getting ready for bed was typical - people running up and down stairs; the bathroom door banging open and shut; laughing over teeth-brushing; the chatter that continues through mouthfuls of toothpaste, the shut bathroom door, pyjama tops as they are put over heads and is then raised a couple of levels as the last few comments are shouted from one bedroom to the next and then the creaking of beds as everyone settles down.

I had such an amazing time with my friend, but it was good to be home again.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

What Are We Saying?

No one gossips about other people's secret virtues.
Bertrand Russell

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

God Is In Control

It all started a few months back. Some old friends were going through a touch time with illness in the family. Their daughter had cancer in her leg and there was chemotherapy and surgery, then more chemotherapy. Two close friends were both struggling and just needed a listening ear and support.

Our closet family friends announced a few weeks ago that they were thinking of moving - countries, not just across town. It felt like an important and stable anchor in life was being ripped up. Then I heard that a lady who was almost like a surrogate aunt-come-grandmother to me had cancer. An operation should fix the problem. A lot of effort has been put into gifts, cards and notes to show support.

This week, life started to crumble and this morning it caved-in. Our friends are definitely moving - maybe in just a few weeks. Then this morning we had an e-mail. Our old friends with an ill daughter had not got good news. Worst of all, although things were still looking good with the lady with cancer, her husband had just been diagnosed with an aggressive form of a pretty nasty cancer.

I felt like I was sinking. What exactly was going on here? Why was all of this happening? And why to all these people? I wondered around in a daze, showering and getting dressed auotmaticaly as I tried to grasp why all of this was happening - and why all at once. I couldn't cope with all of this right then and how on earth was I meant to be able to stretch myself out and help all of these different people? Why did stuff like this have to happen to such nice people? Where they going to die? Why wasn't God stopping this? Why?

I didn't have the answers this morning and I don't have them now. I still feel like I'm wondering around surrounded by a cloud. All the thinking and the emotions have made me exhausted - what must it be like for our friends who are going through all of this right now?

God is in control. He knows what He's doing and why all of this is happening. It doesn't feel like it. It doesn't look like it. How am I supposed to feel that everything - including all of this - is in God's control?

I don't think I am. I think that God understands. He knows how difficult it is to trust Him sometimes. He knows that sometimes it is impossible to feel like God is in control.

What I have to do is believe that God is in control. We are told in the Bible that everything is in God's control, so that is the way it is. No argument. That fact is what we have to hold on to. Take the truth and hold onto it. Believe that God's word is true and even though you don't feel that God is in control, know that God is in control. Sometimes we can only get as far as the cold, light-of-day head-knowledge. God is merciful and compassionate and I believe He takes that cold, light-of-day head-knowledge and He takes care of the rest.

Right now, whether or not I feel it, the truth is there to be taken firm hold of - God is in control.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Pink Satin And Perfect Little Bags

I've got all excited about the birthday present I'm making for my sister! My sister has a Kirsten American Girl Doll and I decided to make her a really pretty ball dress for the doll.

Whenever I get to a fabric store I am always overwhelmed by all the fabric - so many different patterns and colors to choose from and each piece of fabric just begs you to take it off of the shelf and give your inspiration free-reign. Another thing I like about fabric stores is the strange sort of quiet, even when people are talking and the tantalising smell of new fabric. I love going up to the bolts of fabric, rubbing it between my fingers and feeling that crisp, slightly rough feel that you only get from pre-washed fabric.

I wondered around, looking at all the different fabric, checking out the sales, matching up possible colors and trying to imagine what the finished dress would look like. I tried to pick out something that my sister would love to wear to a party herself, or the kind of dress she says she would wear to a ball.

Eventually I chose out some shinny pink satin - just the right color. Next I needed something for the over-skirt - definitely filmy and see-through. A white organza with little white flowers embroidered on it and a scalloped edge was most certainly the perfect match. Next I needed some lace, ribbon for the trimming and some little rosette flowers to hold up the gathers on the over-skirt. A delicate purpley-blue coordinated wonderfully with the pink of the dress and at last I found both rosettes and ribbon in almost the same color. In the end I found some lace which would go quite nicely and the last thing I needed was some ribbon to tie in the doll's hair. I know that the pink, gauzy, shimmery ribbon I found will fill my sister's heart with delight.

The perfect touch came when I found these little bags in the wedding department. They are made out of the same kind of gauzy fabric as the over-skirt and have little ribbons to draw the bag closed at the top. They came in three colors: blue, white and a pink that perfectly matches the pink of the satin. I could hardly believe my eyes! They are the perfect size to look like the little bags they have in the Jane Austen movies and I can't wait to see my sister's face when she sees the two little bags - one white and one pink.

Now I need to set to work to cut out the fabric and sew the dress. I hope that the finished dress will be all that I'm hoping it will be. I think the hard work will all be worth it if I see the stars of wonder and delight that I'm hoping to see in my sister's eyes!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

His Strength

This week I am helping out as a counselor at the day-camp my church runs for a week every summer. For the past couple of weeks there have been meetings to attend, lessons to prepare and a lot of cutting and painting to do as we transformed our space into a treasure-island. I also had to search through my closet looking for clothes that could make me look like a pirate.

On Monday morning we launched into a mad time of songs, games, lessons, crafts, drinks, more games, more songs and the best bit of all - when one of the counsellors gets 'gunged'! It is an amazing opportunity to teach lots of children about Jesus and all that He has done for us. Many of the children have never been to church and this is the first time they are hearing about God.

The question always seems to be, who's having the most fun - the children or us counsellors? The whole week is the greatest fun and I really think that the counsellors have just as much fun as the children.

The problem is, it is totally exhausting. Everyone puts a lot of time and energy in to each of the children and moving them around and doing the lessons and joining in with the games. Also, there is the not-so-little question of keeping all the children going in the same direction, picking up lagers for every activity and making sure that they don't get left out, keeping our area clean and tidy, getting the children involved in the lesson and answering the questions and a new one for me - stopping the fights that break out. This last one has been especially tiring. For some reason I seem to have ended up with an unusually high percentage of difficult and disruptive children. Trying to keep the balance between discipline, order and control, and fun, encouraging and interested is proving to be a lot harder then I would ever have imagined.

Today I became totally stressed out and all I wanted to do was come home and cry. I was totally exhausted and I felt as if I would never be able to ring another drop of energy from my weary body. Worse still, everyone else could see it too. I was wondering if I would ever be able to be nice to another child again.

I was totally convinced that I would not be able to get through another day. At last I managed to work out a strategy for dealing with the slightly more challenging children. Maybe I could make myself be nice to everyone and with a bit of hard work I would be able to get through all that needed to be done with a smile on my face.

Hang on, what about God? Where does He come into it? What is He doing all this time? What exactly is the real reason we are doing this camp?

I have become so stressed and tired that I had totally forgotten to ask God to be there with us through our time, to show Himself to the children through our lessons and to be with me as I'm trying to cope with the demands of the day. Maybe if I asked God to give me the strength I need, I might find myself relying on Him to get me through, rather than worrying about how I am going to manage.

What a revolutionary idea. Duh.

Tomorrow I am going am going to be trying my hardest to rely on God's strength, not my own; to ask Him, rather then worrying; to rely on His faithfulness rather then trying to do something that is beyond my capabilities. Putting my reliance and trust where it belongs will put the right perspective on all that is going on.

I am hoping - and praying! - that tomorrow will be a less stressful and tiring day for me and a more enjoyable and constructive day for the children. Tomorrow, with the help of a new day, a refreshed attitude and an all-powerful and ever-faithful God, the children and I can both have fun together.

Friday, July 27, 2007


I get teased quite a bit for being a vegetarian. For some reason people seem to think its funny. I haven't yet been able to work out exactly why, but it seems to be a guaranteed subject for mirth.

Sometimes people just don't get the whole vegetarian thing. They seem to think that you'll eat chicken and fish. You assure them that you do not eat chicken or fish - no flesh at all. So then they think that you may not eat the actual flesh, but you will eat anything that may have been cooked with, in, beside, in the juices of or made from the juices of, the meat. Sometimes all you can do is sigh to yourself, take a deep breath, and start back at the beginning.

Generally nobody can grasp exactly what you eat if you don't eat meat. Well, just as a sort of freak-experience, you eat vegetables. Either people don't like vegetables or they just forget that vegetables can be eaten on their own. Vegetables can be quite nice.

I have heard various jokes about vegetarians and have heard different ways of describing people who are vegetarians, but none, in my opinion, beats one I saw on a kids' movie.

There is this little girl called Madeline, who lives with 11 other girls in a school in Paris, France. It is run by a nun, called Miss Clavel. Madeline has to go to hospital and on the way back to the school, she rides in the back seat of the car, beside a chicken in a cage. She calls the chicken Fred. That evening, as a special celebration for Madeline's return home, they have Chicken Helene. Madeline looks at the meat on her plate and connects it with the chicken in the car. She flatly refuses to eat Fred - people don't eat their friends. One by one all the little girls refuse to eat the chicken. Miss Clavel turns to the next girl down the table and asks her whether or not she is going to eat her supper. "No! I'm a vegetable-arian too!!"

I'm a vegetable-arian too.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Stop For A Minute And Think

As you might have been able to see from my lack of posts recently, I have been really busy. I am, actually, still very busy.

My to-do list goes on and on and so far I can't see the end of it. At times it is totally overwhelming and there have been moments when I have felt that I am drowning under piles of jobs and errands that I simply have to do.

Yesterday afternoon as I was working away, I was listening to a Stephen Curtis Chapman CD. It's a much older one - For The Sake Of The Call, but it has some really good songs on it. There is this one song that has a catchy tune and arresting lyrics. It's called Billy You're A Busy Man and is about this man who runs around doing lots of stuff and keeping so busy that he doesn't have time to stop and think about whether or not he knows God and what is going to happen after he dies. Although it was originally talking about someone who was running away from becoming a Christian by being busy, it made me think.

I'm busy. You're probably busy. What are we actually doing? Why are we doing it? Who are we doing it for? Are we so busy that we aren't stopping and talking to God? Are we so busy that we are forgetting to live for Him? Are we so busy that we can't remember that we started this or that project because we wanted to do it for God?

I'm not saying that being busy is a totally bad thing, but if we are so busy that we have lost sight of God and the reason we are busy, then I think we need to stop and think.

We don't necessarily need to knock anything off our to-do list, but we do need to go through our to-do list item by item and work out why we started doing it in the first place, what our end goal for this project is and who we are really doing it for now. Bring your focus for each project back to God.

Sometimes life gets so busy I run around in ever tightening circles and I get too dizzy to see anything. I need to stop and ask God to help me bring Him back into focus.

God should be the focus and center of all we do, so right now I need to take a few minutes to stop and put Him back in the center, stop and put Him back as the focus of each and every task I have to do.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Swingdance Come Kickdance

I felt like I needed something to laugh at right now, so I thought that I would give you something to laugh about.

I was at a swing dance just kind of messing around. The lights were turned on only in the center of the room and round the edges it was dark and dim - just to give the whole thing a bit of atmosphere.

I wasn't really getting the dancing too well, so taking my sister's arm, we started to walk across the room. Actually, I wasn't exactly walking. I suppose you could call it something more like ... swishing I guess. The music had got into my legs and as I walked I swung my legs out in front of me, kicking them up in the air from the floor to waist height, one after the other.

Headed for a drink of water, I hummed a little tune to myself, shuffle-kicking my way across the floor, through the dark edge of the room to the door. Out went my right foot, kicking in front of me ... and into something hard. What was it?

A figure rose up out of the darkness immediately in front of me, clutching a hand to it's head and rubbing hard.

I don't think that the poor boy ever forgave me for kicking him in the head! It was very dark and how was I to know that he would be lying on the floor in the corner of the room while he was supposed to be dancing? Of course, I still shouldn't have kicked him in the head, but he really should have warned me that he was going to take a nap in the corner!

I've never been to another swing dance, but if I ever go to one again, I will either take a torch with me, or make sure I have some sort of warning system on the tips of my shoes, so that every time my toes come within 5 inches of something solid, it beeps. Not so that I can stop my foot from swinging to its destination, but so that other people can take their heads off the floor.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Paper Airplanes

Paper airplanes. What picture do you get in your brain when you hear those words? Do they stir some memory from when you were a little girl or boy and you flew airplanes in the park? Do they make you frustrated because you could never quite get them to fold correctly?

When I hear the words "Paper Airplanes", I have a picture in my mind of a happy little boy throwing a plane high in the air and shouting out "weeeeeeeeee" as it sores through the air, then throwing his hands up above his head and laughing out loud as it crashes into the couch, then rushing across the room to pick it up and start all over again.

It all started one day when I was a little bored of drawing pictures of pigs and space rockets, so I started making the piece of paper into a paper airplane. He wasn't particularly pleased with this and started squirming on my knee, but once he knew I was making a plane and was reassured that he could fly it, he was all eagerness to have it finished. His small fists pressed here and there, trying to help me fold the plane faster and his head bobbed up and down in front of my face as he tried to see what I was doing.

After we had finished folding the plane and written his name on one wing, he wriggled off my lap and ran into the family room. He had so much fun with that bit of paper! He giggled and ran around the room, almost more pleased when it crashed then when it flew.

That was the first time. After that whenever he was bored, or just wanted me to do something for him it was, "Lizzy! Lizzy! Make me a paper airplane please!!" He would catch onto my hand and jump up and down, dragging me to the table so I could get started on his plane.

I can now make stunt planes and Split Nose Cone Darts and I often make planes out of the bits of paper I gather at church, but the way I will always remember paper airplanes is an excited little boy with shinning eyes who loves throwing them around the room and laughing with delight and begging me to make another one.

Monday, July 16, 2007

A Wave And A Smile

This morning as I was driving through a residential area, I passed a mother and daughter out for a walk.

The little girl can't have been older then about 18 months, had golden wispy hair and such a cute smile! She twisted round in her mother's arms and waved at me as I passed. I smiled and waved back. The little girl gave me a cute grin as her mother waved as well and I drove on round the corner.

Three little waves, a grin and a smile. Small things, but they gave me a happy minute and I think that the little girl had fun too!

Friday, July 13, 2007

There's Something More

When the greyness surrounds me and I feel a mess,
When nothing seems like it was meant to be,
When my feelings are feeling less then less,
And the world seems to hold, no joy for me,

When all is wrong and I've lost the right,
And there seems nothing left to hold on to,
When all is darkness - I can't see the light,
The things worth doing seem very few,

We try and we try to make things right,
To feel and care all that we should,
But no matter how hard, we strive and we fight,
We seem to end, with all bad and no good,

For what is the point of doing and trying,
Why should we try to mend the pain,
When it could all end in heartache and crying,
And at the end of the struggle we'll see no gain,

We've reached the point of trying no more,
No laughing, no running, no wanting to be,
Our hearts are aching and tired and sore,
And giving up now seems the best way to me,

But there's something more beyond the pain,
Something that's greater than what's in me,
Something more than pointless gain,
The will to live and the chance to be!

There's something there beyond what we see,
We've got to keep trying to reach the light,
We've just got to love, to breath, to be,
To live and laugh with all our might,

When all is dark and the going gets tough,
And we get scared - we fret and wonder,
Whether all there is, is just as rough,
We have to remember there's Someone stronger,

There's God in charge of all this mess,
And although to us it seems all wrong,
We could never, ever guess,
That to Him it will be a wondrous song,

So we have to live and laugh and be,
To sing our songs and dream our dreams,
We're the only ones to ever be 'me',
To add our parts to what life means.
Copyright - Lizzy

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Next Grey Moment

It's been a grey kind of day today. The weather has been grey, threatening rain every minute, but I've also been grey inside. All my sunny, bright colors have somehow been merged together into a murky, messy grey.

My alarm went off this morning long before I was ready to wake up. I hadn't got enough sleep and as I slowly surfaced, the grim weather outside slowly but surely crept inside. By the time I was up and dressed the world was looking far from sunny and I was stomping around in quite a mood. Nothing seemed to go right as one thing after another went wrong. I snapped at my sister more times then I care to name and felt like kicking the computer when I checked my e-mail and found that nobody had written to me.

What had happened to a positive attitude and a sunny perspective? To where had the world-changing habits gone? Why could I not seem to get up enough motivation to start changing my attitude and the way the day was going? Why was the day just not going right? Why was God not listening to me?

Now was the time to remember that I could make the day sweeter. Now I could start to smile through my weariness. Now I could start to persevere through the trials. Now I could start to sing despite the rain. Now I could take a grey day and because of my determination to be cheerful through it all, I could turn the day around and make it a day of cheerfulness to everyone around me.

I didn't. I continued to feel grey inside and out. I continued to walk around in a dizzy fog of tiredness. I continued to feel like everything was going wrong. I continued to scowl and ignore any opportunity to smile. I simply didn't have the energy to pick up my feet and dance in the rain. It has been one of those days when it seems impossible to have a better attitude.

I should have had a better attitude - but I didn't. I should have remembered and followed through on all my thoughts about being cheerful despite a grey time - but I just sat at the table and wondered why.

Today is grey and I don't have the energy to wash it clean and bright again. By myself, I can't. Right now all I can do is ask God to get me though the next moment.

I think that God understands that sometimes we are just too tired and grey to be cheerful or positive. One thing I know for sure - He will always get us though the next grey moment.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

God-Centered Passion

"Whatever you do, find the God-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated passion of your life, and find your way to say it and live for it and die for it. And you will make a difference that lasts. You will not waste your life."
John Piper

Changing The World - A Quote

When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn't change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn't change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family. Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can do is change myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Pride Cometh Before A Fall

Last week I was very busy putting together a power point presentation. I had to make a presentation about poverty, human trafficking, slums, the Persecuted Church and other global issues. I was really excited about it, as it is something that I have already been thinking about quite a bit recently. I set to work with a lot of enthusiasm.

I collected a lot of pictures from the Internet, got my sister to show me some power point basics, found a number of quotes and Bible verses to get people thinking and got to work.

I spent hours - literally hours - working on this presentation. I didn't just want to do a good job, I really wanted it to make an impact on people - to get them thinking about people outside their own country, to get them praying, to get them doing something.

Every spare minute I had I was pouring over the computer, tweaking this picture and that picture, re-arranging the pages, selecting the right font, choosing a background color. I rotated pictures, dragged them in and out of the pages, enlarged them and shrunk them. I spent ages deciding on the order the pictures would come onto the screen and which special effects I would use where.

I finally got it all finished on Friday evening. My eyes were so sore and wouldn't quite focus properly. My mind was boggled and if I had closed my eyes for any length of time, I wouldn't have been surprised if I had seen the pictures jumping around in front of me. It had been hard work - and a huge amount of hard work. It had also got me stressed, worrying about whether or not I would get it finished in time and if I could do a good job.

I decided, however, that all the hard work was worth it. I was genuinely pleased with what I had created. In fact, not to put too fine a point on it - I was seriously impressed with my power point presentation!! I thought that the pictures all went together well and that the special effects helped to add emphasis to the images. The quotes all carried the theme across well and would hopefully people thinking. The font matched the pictures and the idea of making a difference to poverty. Yes, I was really pleased with what I had done and actually couldn't think of any way to improve it. I thankfully don't seem to have these moments of extreme pride too often (not much above once every two weeks anyway) but when they come, I make a really good job of it. I was proud of my presentation and couldn't wait to hear what other people would think of it.

I carefully saved the presentation so it would keep the right font and got it copied onto a CD. I was all set and ready to go. Now I just needed to sit back and rest content in the knowledge that I had done a good job. Actually, I worried about it all weekend.

The day arrived and we had a big rush getting everything ready and set up. The CD loaded alright and the font I wanted was still there in all it's glory. We didn't play any of the presentation then, as we had many other things to get sorted, but the first slide still looked good and someone voiced their approbation. Much to my shame, I basked in the compliment.

Later we played my presentation in the background while some other stuff was going on. I knelt on the floor and had a little look - just to see what it looked like full-size and to check that it came out alright.

Kneeling on the floor was exactly where I stayed for the next few minutes, stunned into absolute silence. Where had my beautiful presentation gone? What had happened to the amazing way it had all fitted together? To where had the rhythm and flow and perfect sequences all flown? I felt like I was watching a hastily and badly-put-together slide-show of a third-rate quality. All the pictures which I had carefully arranged at angles has been put straight; pictures that were meant to come onto the screen one by one with a little gap between each one, now sprang on altogether and were immediately covered up by another picture. Previously pictures had come spinning in from a distance, dissolved onto the screen, appeared block by block from corner to corner or swept up from the bottom of the screen. Now they were just plunked onto the screen in any old place and just sat there looking at me mockingly and covering each other up with fine disregard of an artistically pleasing appearance. My 7-minute masterpiece had been reduced to a 2-minute horror. My pride had been reduced to a little heap of ashes on the floor.

I still don't know what happened to make the presentation get all messed up, but I do know that my pride took a long jump off a 700-story building and came crashing down to the sidewalk with the biggest bump I can remember in a long time. Hardly anybody actually looked at the screen, but those who did probably didn't look twice. Everyone knew who had done it and I was thoroughly humiliated.

I don't know if I'll ever have the heart to do another power point presentation, but if anyone ever takes the risk of asking me to do one again, then I will take less time over getting it 'just right' and won't be half so proud about the finished product.

Now the question is, can you be proud of your humility?

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Just For Fun ...

Just for fun, to give myself a laugh, I went along to this website that gives you your very own 'Peculiar Aristocratic Title'.

You type in your name and it gives you a title - just like that. I did it a number of times, waiting until I got one that I really liked or suited me well. I had done it about eight times before it came up with the perfect title.

Ahem! Introducing (drum roll please!!) ...

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Baroness Lizzy the Talkative of Mellow under Trollness
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Like I said - perfect!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Don't Do Nothing

We pass homeless person in the city, pushing an old shopping cart filled with all his worldly goods. His eyes are vacant and he shuffles listlessly along the sidewalk. He doesn't have anywhere to go and who knows if he will have anything for dinner. His home is on a park bench, or maybe the doorway of a store. We walk past on the other side of the street, trying not to stare at his dirty clothes and long, matted hair.

We turn away, trying not to look, and return to our cozy homes, filled with lovely possessions. There we can forget that some people don't have homes.

We get a missions magazine through the mail. On the front cover is a picture of a little girl. She has straggly black hair falling over a dirty face and she sucks one thumb as she leans round the doorway of her corrugated-iron and cardboard shanty. Her top is too big and has a hole in it and her skirt is far too short. She wouldn't even know what to do with a pair of shoes. The shelter made out of trash, which is the only home she's ever known, is falling to pieces and is surround by old rusty cycles and mounds of garbage.

We put the magazine away before rushing out the door to visit a friend. We talk about the new shoes we bought last week and the church pot-luck dinner coming up on Sunday. There we can forget that some people don't have shoes to wear and take their pickings from the city garbage dump.

Pictures in a magazine, on a notice-board, on our city streets and on our websites are so easy to walk away from and forget. It makes us feel uncomfortable, so we push it to the back of our mind.

Maybe we spend a few minutes of compassion, wishing we could do something to help ... just something. But there are so many people out there who need help and we can't do it all. We get discouraged. Life is busy and in the rush of doing other things, we forget.

Don't let what you cannot do, stop you doing what you can do.

Anything is better then nothing. We can't help the whole of mankind. We can't feed every person who's hungry. We can't house every person who's homeless. We can sponsor a child in Brazil so she can have clothing, schooling and food. We can collect a coke-can of dollars and send them to a mission organization. We can tell other people about an organization that needs support. We can pray for the hobo on the street.

Even if we can't do anything else, we can pray.

If you think you're too small to do anything, you've never slept with a mosquito.

Don't just walk away and forget - do something. Anything. Whatever you do, don't do nothing.

Monday, July 2, 2007

A Bouncy-Granny-Wanna-Be

So many people say that wanting to change the world is something that teenagers want to do - once you get past the teen black-or-white stage, your enthusiasm, determination and motivation will quickly fade and ebb away into a grown-up mediocre attitude to just about everything.

I intend to prove them all wrong. In fact, I already have. I haven't been a teenager for a while now, but you know something? I'm still all out for changing the world, I still get majorly enthusiastic about so many, many thing and I am determined to make a difference and get things done. Admittedly my ideas on these various things have changed and the way I go about my world-changing is slightly different then it used to be - but I'm still doing it and I;m still getting excited about life.

When I'm 80, I still want to be hopping up and down with excitement when I have a fantastic idea; I still want my eyes to glow and my face to shine when I hear of some amazing project; I still want to get butterflies in my stomach the evening before my birthday. When I'm 80, I still want to be just as determined to change the world and I still want to be enthusiastic about what everyone is doing and something new that is about to happen.

When I'm 80. Along the way, I'm going to carry on being an enthusiastic world-changer.

Friday, June 29, 2007

One Of My Favourite Links ...

Click on the link below and then type in your first name . .

The Courage To Continue

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
Winston Churchill

If like me you have got to the end of a week that seemed like it would never end, and are looking back and thinking how little you did, how many things you left undone and how many things you didn't have time to accomplish, then take a deep breath. God knows, God understands and God is there.

Next week is another week. A new week. If you have a good week full of success, it doesn't guarantee good weeks ever after. If you have a hard week full of failure, it doesn't mean you won't ever have a good week again. What matters is pressing on, doing your best and facing the next week with courage and the determination to try again.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Sweeter Day

Beep, beep, beep. You reach up a wandering hand, groping for the switch on your alarm. After you've fumbled around for a few seconds you manage to stop that annoying little beeping noise that shatters your fanciful delusions that maybe you won't have to get up for another couple of hours.

You lie on your back in bed, blinking groggily up at the ceiling. As your bleary eyes begin to clear and the world comes into focus you wander why people always put wood-chip paper on the ceiling, right where it will confuse you first thing in the morning. After deciding that you can't stay in bed contemplating the wood-chips all day, you manage to drag yourself out of bed and open the curtains. The sun floods into your room and another day has begun.

Your quiet time has set you straight for the day ahead and you are now free enough of sleep to run downstairs quite briskly. On the other hand, maybe it isn't a wakeful state that is causing your swift progress downstairs, but the thought of a reviving cup of tea. As you sleepily sip your tea at the kitchen table, you decide it must be the tea, not a wakeful state.

Tea was a definite improvement and you begin to sing as you get ready for your shower. The shower produces all you hoped it would - a feeling of being clean and - at last - a feeling of being awake. It has also made you aware of how hungry you are. Breakfast beckons.

You make out your to-do list for the day. Then you decide that it might be a better idea if you went back to bed for a long lie-down. You need it after that. However, there is work to do and you decide that showing some fight and grit might get you farther through your list then crawling back under the covers. Oh well, the bed will still be there at the end of the day - you hope.

As the morning starts to draw to a close, you have an aching wrist after hours of typing 'j, shift-6, period' over and over again. Then over and over again some more. You wouldn't call converting HTML files an interesting task, but at least it gives you time to think. Pressing the same three keys multiple times one after another is not what you would call mentally demanding.

You are starting to feel out of breath as you run around trying to get all your jobs done. Another cup of tea and a brief walk outside help to bring some energy back into your very tired limbs and lift a little of the weight from behind your eyes. You ask yourself why you are quite so tired today.

While wondering how many hours you have left to go you let out two simultaneous groans - one because bed with all its attractions of a cozy read and a good sleep is still a long way off and two because you know you'll never be able to get all you have to get done finished in that time.

As you sit still for a few minutes, thinking how hard it sometimes is to get through a long day using a very tired body, you realize that it isn't just you against the day. God has given you the day as a precious gift and He is walking through it with you. This day holds as many opportunities to make a difference in life as you care to use.

You sit feeling discouraged. All you've been able to do is feel tired, drag your body from one place to another, press computer keys for a couple of hours and stare dizzily at an over-optimistic to-do list.

What you don't remember is the kind word you said to your sister, the note you sent to a friend who was having a hard day, the song you were singing to God this morning, the package you sent to a friend, the time you took to make a card for a stressed-out family. Maybe none of those things were on your to-do list and maybe you can't cross them off with a feeling of accomplishment, but when you finally get to lie your tied head on your pillow, you will have left the day a better and sweeter one then when you first switched off your alarm this morning.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A Glow Worm

"We are all worms, but I intend to be a glowworm."
Winston Churchill

I don't believe I'm a worm - but I do intend to glow!!

Changing The World - A Word At A Time

Today my sister left me a note to let me know that she thinks I'm amazing.

My day had not been going too well, but after I had read her note, a smile spread over my face, I could feel the new light coming into my eyes and I wouldn't have been surprised if people could have seen the warm glow around my heart. That note changed my day and I know that I will be carrying the special feeling around inside me for the rest of my life.

I still remember nice things that someone said about me, something I had done or the way I looked from fifteen plus years ago. Someone said how pretty I looked in a little green dress with a smocked front, a white scalloped collar with little flowers around the edge and a big sash that tied up behind. My Mother said that a drawing I had done of a bird was really good. A friend said how sweet she thought I was. My sister said what a good job I had done on a piece of writing. A friend said how much she appreciated me and what I did for her.

When somebody says nice or encouraging things to me, it makes my day happier, but it also makes me happy every time I think about it in the following days, months or years.

Everyone of those people who have ever said a good word to or about me, have helped to change my life - for the better.

Think how many people's lives we could change for the better by simply taking the time to say a nice or encouraging word to someone we know.

The first couple of times it may feel a little staged, it may be a little awkward and the person may look surprised, incredulous or sceptical, but I would rather feel a little awkward and have someone look surprised and know that what I said might help that person feel better about themselves and bring a little happiness into their day and maybe any number of days in the future.

When you think someones dress is nice - tell them how well it suits them.
When someone gives you a present - make sure you thank them for thinking of you.
If someone does a good job - tell them how well they did.
In the morning - say a cheerful hello.
In the store at the checkout - say a smiling thank you.
If someone asks you how you are - don't forget to ask them too.
If your friend is looking nice - tell her how pretty she is.
When you know someone has been having a tough day or week - tell them you've been praying for them.

Who knows - maybe after you have said something nice to them, they will be encouraged to say something nice to someone else, who will be encouraged to say something nice to someone else ...

Just say nice things to people - each and every day in every small or big way.

That is what I am going to do - changing the world every word along the way.