Thursday, 23 July 2009

For the Very Young...

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Today is the birthday of my friend Deb's son - Alex. He was born in an ambulance on the way to hospital 32 years ago.

He died just over 2 years ago. Too impatient to wait to start life he managed to leave it too fast and too sudden as well.

He died the day before I went into hospital to have surgery. I found out checking my emails the next morning. I cried all the way into hospital, thinking of my friend and how huge a hole his passing must have left in her heart. I never met him, but I felt like I knew him through his mother's eyes. All her stories about him... he was a loving son and a loyal friend.

Loved by so many - gone too soon.

I cried because I understood how that feels. My cousin, Frank, died on a Valentine's Day morning when he was 23 years old. Loved by so many - gone far too soon.

Frank's brother once said to me how he wondered whether it wasn't more a tragedy to live a long drab empty life and die old. Frank died young, but his short life was filled to overflowing.

In that respect everything I know about Alex reminds me of my cousin, Frank. They were both such bright souls. It's as if the really bright lives burn out fast, but while they are here they touch everyone with their amazing brightness.

The song below is for Alex, and Frank, and for all the bright short lives that leave such an impact in the time they share with us.
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Cat Stevens - Oh Very Young (live)

Monday, 20 July 2009

Art on a Plate

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A friend of mine sent me a link to his daughter's amazing edible creations. I have to share this link. These are true works of art.



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Saturday, 18 July 2009

Newsflash for Mid-Summer

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Time for another...

Nature
Entertainment
Wise words
Spirit
Family
Lessons
Author
Smiles
Health

NATURE
June was glorious, hot and sunny. So far July has been the complete opposite. I took the photos below in June on a perfect summer evening. We had parked here for a specific reason, which you'll find out by reading on further. ;-)

First photo is of barley fields beside the road...
The road itself...
...and some pretty wild flowers growing beside the road. No idea what they were.

ENTERTAINMENT
The reason we were parked out in the countryside on a warm June evening was because the Red Arrows were in town for the day. They came to give a show for Kinloss Airbase's 70th Anniversary. We all took loads of photos, but very few do these wonderful pilots justice. Where we were parked they flew over these fields in front of us.

Here's a pretty one of them in the sunlight.

Two of them criss-crossing...
Braiding colours in the sky...
Doing a full circle loop....
Near the end three of them formed a heart with an arrow through it. It was so big it filled the entire sky.
They also did a starburst over our heads...
The noise was incredible. It was very exciting. My dad took some videos, but I need to edit them before posting. Edit because dad forgot that while planes can loop 360 degrees humans holding cameras can't. He lost his balance and nearly fell over twice so most of his videos end with close-ups of the road and lots of giggling from him and me.

WISE WORDS
My favourite quote for the month, with one important twist - they have to be words from a fellow blogger. My Wise Words choice for Mid-Summer are by Tessa of An Aerial Armadillo. This delicious extract is from her gorgeous post on Zanzibar, fully illustrated with equally luscious photographs.
Like women in full purdah, each dilapidated shutter hides a story, each carved wooden door tells a tale. The island's legacy of trade hangs heavy over the market place where mangoes, tomatoes, chill is and bananas - as long and curved as Persian sabres - provide sensory relief from fly-ridden fish entrails, octopus tentacles and cow's heads.
SPIRIT
I have been working on some posts related to the topic of Faith and Manifesting. It started as one idea and kind of grew too long, so I'm busy working on making it into two posts... or three. I'm not sure if anyone is actually interested to read thoughts/ideas on those lines. If this grabs you - leave a reply here and I'll post them once they're done.

FAMILY
Family life has been quiet at the Crow's Nest. Hubby is still working hard to get his new business up and running, but things are so quiet at the moment that we're really only managing an "up and limping" at this stage.

LESSONS
June was extra hot, but that sunshine brought massive bouts of hayfever for both myself and hubby. Three solid weeks of sneezing and wheezing has left us both rather limp and exhausted. So... the biggest lesson of Mid-Summer is that beautiful meadows of wild flowers need to be watched from behind closed windows if you suffer from hayfever!

AUTHOR
My book and author for this newsflash is...


Douglas is most remembered for his books "The Robe" and "The Big Fisherman."

"Green Light" is also a religious-themed book, but unlike the other two which deal with the life and times of Jesus and the Apostles, "Green Light" deals with more modern times. It's the story of a young American doctor who sacrifices almost everything (including the woman he loves) in order to save others - literally and in a more Spiritual sense. What makes the book outstanding for me are the portions where the Dean puts forward his opinions on Evolution and religion, views which are quite radical and innovative.

It's a story of love and courage in every sense of those words. It has two bitter-sweet love stories woven into the plot. Here's a quote from the book...
"The Dean says," bantered Phyllis, "that we should be more trustful of our fellow men. There's something about it in the Bible too."

"Well - the Dean never was a woman," came Sonia's reflection from deep in the clothes closet. "And the Bible was written by men - for men."

"Dare you say that to the Dean," Phyllis lounged in, tossed her hat aside, and sat on the edge of her bed.


"About the Bible? It was the Dean who told me. He says there should be at least one book in the Bible written by a woman - for women."
SMILES

HEALTH
I finally have an appointment booked for surgery for my hernia - some time early in August. I'll be so glad to get this finally sorted. Otherwise I'm plodding along. My blood pressure went up last month after I had to deal with a stressful situation. My doctor has put me on low-level anxiety medication for it and it has helped a lot, but it seems to be making me feel drowsy.

My mom's had the most serious problems this summer. Her hip/leg has been hurting her a lot. At first it was just pain when she stood, then pain if she stood or walked, but at this stage she hurts sitting, standing, walking... there is nothing that does not hurt. Her doctor sent her for X rays last week and she should get the results soon. Prayers for good news (that this pain is easily fixed) are appreciated....
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Thursday, 9 July 2009

From "Coffee to go" to "Book to go"

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Below this post is a YouTube video of a machine that some say is about to change the world of publishing forever - the Espresso Book Machine.

The EBM can make a book for you in minutes. You simply browse the computerised catalogue, pick the book you want, choose your cover and... wait. An average paperback takes about 2 to 3 minutes.

You can choose to print anything from an old out-of-print classic to a new hot best seller. Not only that... you can also upload your own document and print your own copy of your own book. I'm rather excited to find out that the printers of my own book, Lightning Source, are involved in this new venture.

At the moment the EBM is scattered around the globe in a few universities and book stores, but the numbers are growing. In the future you could literally get your coffee and book to go!


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The Espresso Book Machine

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

A Most Remarkable Woman.

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photo courtesy of clarita

Shastri sent me a link to some wonderful photos he took recently of Navagrahas statues, the planetary gods. Their names triggered a memory I'd forgotten - how the hands of Fate led me to meeting a most remarkable woman.

In 2001 I was working as an astrologer (birth charts for advice and career guidance) and had a small column in a local newspaper. One day I answered the phone to a most unexpected caller.

A woman, with a beautifully elegant Indian accent, told me that she had been informed that I was "the one" and would I please come visit her to pick up my books.

My books?


In the course of conversation she explained that she had a large collection of astrology books that she had decided to donate to a worthy astrologer. Unsure who to choose to inherit them she had torn out the photos of all the local astrologers, from papers and magazines, and dowsed them with a pendulum. The pendulum had chosen me.

And that is how I first met Siromani. I thought, at that stage, that the story could hardly get more strange and wonderful, but how wrong I was!

A few days later I made my way up stairs to the flat where Siromani lived. I rang the doorbell... and a tiny woman came to the door. Small in stature, clearly quite elderly, and very much NOT Indian. Her faded hair still showed traces of the pale blond it had once been and her remarkably bright eyes were a clear sparkling blue. I thought there must be some mistake, but the moment she started to talk I recognised that lovely voice from the phone call.

How does a blond blue-eyed elderly lady in Africa come to have an Indian accent? By living a very adventurous life. Over a cup of tea Siromani told me how she had been born in India, of Scandinavian parents. She had spent her childhood and early adulthood in India and that was where she had studied astrology and dowsing. After marriage she had moved to Africa, where she had worked as a building constructor, an engineer and a water dowser.

Now, a month before her 90th birthday, she felt it was time she started studying something new and more challenging. So she was getting rid of all her old books and focusing on books on herbal medicine and alternative healing.

How many people decide to start a new study/career at the age of 90?

I spent a magical afternoon listening to her stories of India and Africa, discussing astrology and books in general. She was one of the most vibrant and alive people I have ever met. I went away with a box load of antique astrology books and ephemera, but the gifts she gave me that day went far further than that.

As I was leaving I noticed a book tucked into her chair next to her. It was the same book I was reading and I commented on that fact. A book on archeology. I was actually finding it a bit boring, but she said it was well worth the effort and that I should go back home and finish reading it.

I did finish the book and it was worth the effort, but not in ways you might expect. The book led me to pottering on Google looking for more information on some of the ancient civilisation. That in turn led me to joining an archeology forum...

... and that was where I met the Highlander who became my husband.

Coincidence, luck, or Divine intervention through the stars? Who can say? All I know is that gaining a husband was a truly unexpected gift from a most remarkable woman. :-)

photo courtesy of Kevin Rosseel
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Wednesday, 1 July 2009

The Other side of Wild Flowers

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I know, I've been pretty scarce lately. The reason for that is hay fever. All those wonderful wild flowers and grasses we photographed a week or two back have now become "the enemy"! Hubby and I have been sneezing, sniffling, coughing and, to add to the seasonal misery, both of us have swollen itchy eyes.

At the moment I'm here, but not really up to writing much. My head actually hurts from all the sneezing and I have a nose Rudolph the Reindeer would be jealous of. The weather has been gloriously sunny, wonderfully warm, but hubby and I are mostly having to stay indoors. We're probably the only people hoping for some rain, to get all that pollen out of the air!

Even Bunny Boy is finding the heat too much. He's spent the last two days lying in the shade, underneath the bird bath, snoozing.

How wonderful it must be to lie flat in the long grass and not end up sneezing your head off.