Thursday 20 December 2018

One Year

You left us one year ago, dad. This is for you... xoxoxoxo

Sunday 9 December 2018

Not Everything is on the Internet

I just discovered that one of my favourite poems is not online. I did all kinds of searches in all types of places... nothing. So, I went and got out my one book of poems and wrote it out. I hope you love it as much as I do. :)

Prayer of the Butterfly

Where was I?
O Yes! This flower, this sun,
thank you! Your world is beautiful!
This scent of roses...
Where was I?
A drop of dew
rolls to sparkle in a lily's heart.
I have to go...
Where? I do not know!
The wind has painted fancies
on my wings.
Where was I?
O Yes! Lord,
I have something to tell you:

Christina Rossetti

Friday 7 December 2018

Oh Christmas Tree! :D

Every year, since I was a baby, my dad and I have put up the Christmas tree together. For that reason, I just couldn't bring myself to get out our old tree to decorate this year. It's still too soon and too many memories, but I did want to put something pretty up for Christmas.

After pottering about online, trying to find some inspiration, I saw exactly what I was after. A "flat" tree to hang against a wall or in a window. The one online cost £30 and was pretty basic, so I decided to make one myself. :)
My tree took 3 dowel sticks (1 metre long) and string. You could use thinnish bamboo as well. Whole lot came to less than £4.

I sweated for hours doing the maths to figure out length of pieces to fit a tree shape, but then Sandy sorted it out EASY. He put the string down on the carpet in a tree shape and we put the dowels on top at regular intervals and marked where to cut them. My bottom dowel was 72cm going up to a tree point, with about 20cm gaps between each dowel. Knotting the string on the dowels was the hard part!

I left a long bit of string at top to hang it up with. Then sticky-taped the lights all over it and added the tinsel and baubles last.  

I made it a bit big, no room for a star or angel on top, but it still looks very pretty from outside. 

Tuesday 27 November 2018

Rebel, Rebel!

I have had a short story chosen for the annual Scottish Book Trust non-fiction writing event. This year the theme was REBEL.

Rebel Rebel, pick up yer pen
Rebel Rebel, we want tae ken

Books can be ordered for free in Scotland, but you can read my story and other entries HERE.

My story, The Cold War, is HERE

Thursday 22 November 2018

Thanks giving

Today is Thanksgiving in America... and also Thanksgiving in a small town in the Netherlands. A Dutch American Thanksgiving. I never knew that until today! It seems that a large chunk of the settlers on the Mayflower were Dutch immigrants from a place called Leiden. You can read more about Leiden's American Pilgrim Thanksgiving service here.
Every November on Thanksgiving morning, the Pieterskerk hosts an annual ecumenical service. You can learn more about the event here.

Every November on Thanksgiving morning, the Pieterskerk hosts an annual ecumenical service. You can learn more about the event here.


The Smithsonian says this in an article on the story:
In 1620, the ship Speedwell left from Leiden to Southampton, England. The passengers moved over to the Mayflower, and from there set upon their their long voyage to America. From 1609 to 1620, many of the assorted clustering of people known as the Pilgrims had resided in Leiden, working, running a printing press, and bolstering their numbers. Bart Plantenga for American Heritage:

The Pilgrims had evaded English persecution through the peculiar tolerance of the Calvinist Dutch, who had given them a religious safe haven upon their arrival in 1608. By 1609 the newcomers had settled in Leiden, whose city fathers declared they could “refuse no honest people free entry to come live in the city.” In Leiden the Pilgrims joined other British exiles amid a population of students, intellectuals, and refugees, including Gypsies, Mennonites, Lutherans, and Muslims.

Read more:

Two things struck me there:

1. The early pilgrims on the Mayflower weren't all English, as I'd thought. 
2. Leiden offered sanctuary not only to those Pilgrims fleeing to America, but also to Gypsies and Muslims.

Leiden actually had its own Thanksgiving holiday long before the Pilgrims set sail and there are some who think the Pilgrims liked this idea and took it with them to America. Whatever the case, how wonderfully tolerant and compassionate the people of Leiden were. Opening their town as a sanctuary for refugees fleeing persecution. 

That is truly worthy of a day of Thanksgiving. :)

Sunday 11 November 2018

Family Stories ~ Small Histories

Small Histories. 

It is summer in South Africa, 1990. I'm sitting in a garage, holding an old tin box. It is so worn by age that the colour has no description in the English language. I rub my hand across the scratched and worn away surface, feeling old friends inside. I know their faces without having to see them. If I open the box... when I open the box... I will know them and they will know me, but for now it is enough to sit here and listen to them whispering within their tin tomb.

The sun is bright outside the garage. I can hear cars in the distance and birds nearby. My grandfather would sit here for hours, squatting on his haunches with ease, even in his seventies. Sit and watch the world... smoke his pipe. Now he is gone and I am here in old clothes to help family remove grandpa's collections.

Grandpa was a pack rat supreme. There are at least twenty jam jars of screws and nails so rusted no-one could ever use them again. There are five books of wallpaper samples he used to decorate two generations of doll's houses and eight tins of World War two tank paint used mostly to repaint the concrete garden gnome that now sits on the front steps. There are Rhodesian TV magazines dating back to the sixties. Their covers show girls wearing mini skirts and enormous hair. Their adverts are for products and companies long gone and their TV listings are heavily nostalgic - Star Trek and Twilight Zone, Fred Flintstone and Skippy the Bush Kangaroo.

My dad puts them alongside the rest of the junk to be recycled or dumped. So much of my grandfather's collecting was junk and yet he could create wonder from it. Like the penny farthing cycle he built from scraps of wire and metal or the castle forts and doll's houses he meticulously glued together from old empty matchboxes. I actually hated the doll's house. I'd wanted a castle, but even at eight I'd been awed at the craftsmanship that was needed to create a luxury double-story, with cardboard roof tiles and real windows of thin plastic sheeting, out of matchboxes.

Sitting amongst the dusty dregs of a lifetime's collecting I sit with "the box" and remember. I can't lift the lid. As long as the box is closed the memories inside are dormant - frozen. Inside this box time stands still. As long as the lid is shut my grandpa is alive and we are sitting in his room in Rhodesia as he tells me all the small histories. Once I lift the lid it will be over. The photos are not mine - they are going to other family members as keepsakes. So I sit and hold the memories a little longer. I have asked permission to scan as many as I want, but it won't be the same. I have no-one I can tell their stories to, as my grandfather told me, and scanned pictures on a screen aren't the same as brittle dry paper held in the hand.

Perhaps my heart is as sad to let them go as it is to let him go... but I have one consolation. I have the tales and the memories - the small histories. No-one can take those from me. I smile and open the box...

Thursday 8 November 2018

Haunting Faces; Haunting Stories

Several years back, my dad was given copies of several old family photos. We never knew who they were, but yesterday a cousin managed to put names to the faces and a history I was absolutely not expecting. 

I've been on quite a journey lately. I took a DNA test and found some mind boggling facts about where my ancestors came from as well as a new cousin who was given up for adoption over 50 years ago. In piecing together how everyone fits, the extended family on my father's side came together to discuss this photo...

I knew someone in this photo was supposed to be my dad's grandmother (Heila Theron), but that was all. This is the side of the family that connected me through the DNA test to an already known cousin and a new one. But who were these women and how are we connected through their stories? I had no idea until yesterday when the cousin I already knew recognised her grandmother in the woman on the left.

We think the woman on the right is probably my great grandmother. Both sisters were adopted by their older sister (most likely the woman sitting in the middle) when their mother died. How do we know this? Because it's listed in the information from the Mafeking concentration records. They were both in their early teens when they were imprisoned. Their older sister was 27. 

WOW... that was a shock! My dad's family were Rhodesian so I truly was not expecting to ever find some of my family spent time in the concentration camps. When we studied the Anglo-Boer war in high school history it seemed as remote as the Napoleonic wars. And the story is a very tragic one. The oldest sister lost three of her own children in that concentration camp. How much pain was she holding in her heart... I can't even begin to imagine how it felt to watch your children die that way.

To put this into perspective for people who don't know South African history (this quote is from ...

"Boer women, children and men unfit for service were herded together in concentration camps by the British forces during Anglo-Boer War 2 (1899-1902). The first two of these camps (refugee camps) were established to house the families of burghers who had surrendered voluntarily, but very soon ... the camps ceased to be refugee camps and became concentration camps. The abhorrent conditions in these camps caused the death of 4 177 women, 22 074 children under sixteen and 1 676 men, ... notwithstanding the efforts of an English lady, Emily Hobhouse, who tried her best to make the British authorities aware of the plight of especially the women and children in the camps."
  Photo of Lizzie van Zyl who died in the Bloemfontein camp
I've always been anti-war and this just added another reason for my firm conviction that we have to find a better way. This is also why I promote the white poppy as well as the red. Because it isn't just soldiers who die in wars... it's families. 

Saturday 3 November 2018

Dona Nobis Pacem ~ Think for Peace

This is my tenth anniversary of taking part in Blog for Peace.  Ten amazing years of creating a global community all focussed on one topic - peace. We are huge, on every continent including Antarctica, but have we made a difference?

That has bothered me lately, as I look at the chaos on media news. If so many people worldwide want peace, why are we still so far from our goal? It took some arguments on Facebook, an ancient maxim and a song to make me realise what I'd been overlooking: that we need to THINK for peace.

The arguments came about due to my friends being a very varied bunch of people. I've learnt so much from them, especially the ones whose politics, culture or religions are very different from my own. I'm ok with differences, but there are many who aren't ok. I have friends who openly fear "those people" who are also my friends. Worst of all... because they fear each other, they begin to resent or even hate each other. And that's when I remembered that ancient Roman maxim: DIVIDE AND RULE.

It's a very simple technique that was used in warfare and is now used in business and political strategy. Here's the basics of how it works:
  • create or encourage divisions among others to prevent alliances that could challenge the balance of power
  • foster distrust and enmity
  • encourage meaningless expenditures that reduce the capability for others to rebel
    ...and those last words triggered the memory of a song: "Work For Peace" by Gil Scott-Heron.

    The Military and the Monetary,
    get together whenever they think its necessary,

    they are determined to keep the citizens secondary, 
    they make so many decisions that are arbitrary.

    The only thing wrong with Peace,
    is that you can't make no money from it.
    There it was - my missing link. World powers and big business do not want peace because there is no money to be made from it. So they talk a lot of words about peace, but they foster the old maxim of divide and rule.
    How many news items have you seen this year where the message was that the other side is not to be trusted?
    How many internet sites have sent you information on why you should fear people who are different to you?
    How many times has the military and the monetary tried to force us apart?
    I watched a TV movie a few months back. It was a sci-fi thing about aliens invading the planet. Young soldiers were given special goggles through which they could see these "invisible aliens" in order to hunt them down and kill them. But one young man loses his goggles and realises that they're actually killing human beings. The battle isn't about aliens, it's about the government wanting to cull over population. There was no enemy; no alien invasion. Only divide and rule.   

    What if this were the truth right now? What if there were only a handful of genuine "bad guys" and those allowed to flourish in order to keep us all so afraid we toed the line and obeyed all the rules? What if we stopped thinking for ourselves and let THEM think for us... 

    Is it that far fetched? I don't know. All I know for certain is that my Facebook wall is made up of THEM. My friends are black, white, Asian and Native American. They are Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Atheist, Hindu and Pagan. I have witches chatting to church-going good folk on my Facebook wall. I have a Kosher vegetarian and a Halal vegetarian. I have an atheist vegan and a meat-eating Hindu. I have politically Left friends wanting the world to be a better place... I have politically Right friends who want the same.

    They may have different things they believe and ways of living, but all of them want the same basic things: a decent salary, a nice home, safety for their families, healthy food, clean water and a better world for their children.


    Let that sink in for a moment, please and then... THINK.

    Think before you allow random (and often fake) news to fill you with fear. 
    Think before you allow others to tell you who to hate. 
    Trust your intuition or trust in your God.
    Keep calm and think for yourself.

    I based that design on a British World War II poster made to help people cope with the ongoing stress and fear of war. The message is just as important now as it was then. Keep calm and carry on. We absolutely cannot achieve peace by becoming angry or fearful of each other. We have to find ways to communicate, to share our similarities as we balance our differences.

    Thursday 1 November 2018

    Walking the Path

    I recently asked my spirit guardian how best to deal with grief and sadness. He said, "Give grief all the time and space it needs, but don't live in it." 

    I understood exactly what he meant. W
    e've all met people who "live in it" in a negative sense. They get into that space of intense grief, anger or bitterness and... they get stuck there. I think people like that are a bit like travellers going through a dark forest. I'm not sure if they get lost or deliberately stop walking, but years pass and there they still are, still sitting in the dark with moss growing over them.

    We all face dark forests at some time or another. The path of life can take us through meadows and deserts and forests. Sometimes it's gentle and the scenery is lovely and sometimes it's not, but all of it is a part of the great adventure of living. You have to keep on walking and that can really hurt when someone you love steps off the path to take a different route. 

    There's a movie that sums this up most beautifully. It's called The Way.

    It's about a grieving father who walks the Camino (ancient pilgrimage journey across Spain) for his dead son. He leaves his son's ashes at each marker along the route. Sounds a gloomy movie, but it's actually very funny in places. In the end, his journey becomes so much more than he expected, just the same as every life story. Farewells are painful, but you have to keep walking. So we find our ways to deal with the sadness as we walk. We give our emotions whatever space and time they need, but we don't stop and live there. 

    Thoughtful Thursday... All that we Share

    Such a clever video and all the more vital to watch since the tragedy in Pittsburgh this past weekend.

    Wednesday 24 October 2018

    Fear is the Blame Game

    I recently read an excellent post by Jeff Gregory​ about hate. I tend to defend the underdog and speak out about things I feel are wrong. A lot of people think that means I hate A or B, but it's not that simple. I do hate injustice and cruelty, but I can still pity the person doing the "act of evil" because so often it is the broken who then go on to break others. As you Jeff says in his post - hate isn't the answer. We need to find more ways to say "no, I don't want this" without making it a word used while carrying weapons and torches. This planet has seen far too many tragedies based on the hate of mass hysteria.

    I've come up against this a lot with the recent fear/hate between political parties and against specific religions. Personally, I don't follow either Left or Right in politics (I'm Green first )and I see religions as the ways humanity experience and love creation/creator. I really don't think God cares how we express that love, only that we love. I don't think there is a single Way to God; each path is unique to each person. but sadly, there are two religions that have a history of using extreme force in order to convert others to a single "way": Christianity and Islam.

    I have had to defend the rights of my Muslim friends a lot recently, which has led to some people thinking I'm anti-Christianity. Not so! I am depressed and afraid of the levels of hate in BOTH radical versions of these two religions. Yet neither religion was created by a man proposing using cruelty and fear to convert followers...

    So how did it all go so wrong and how can we ensure it does not continue into our future? 

    It has to begin with letting go of hate and that means facing our fears, because most of the time hate is the way we protect ourselves from things we fear. We fear the different and unknown and we fear things that have hurt us in the past or that we worry will hurt us in the future. Fear is a primal instinct of survival, but it has limitations. It drains your energy and strips away your ability to think clearly. This is why so many brainwashing techniques use tiredness and fear, because you lose all ability to think for yourself. You become a puppet.

    And the only way you can ever battle fear is through Love - the type of love that walks with tolerance, understanding and compassion.

    Thank you, Jeff, for reminding me of that simple fact. It's so easy to lose sight of what really matters when you're frustrated and scared for the future. I'd like to repay you with a video by a favourite group of mine who say it beautifully in this song.  

    If there is grace in this world
    If there is light on this earth
    Let us use it
    Let us see it
    Starting right now...

    Peace, love, more tolerance
    Faith, hope trust in the same god in whose
    Name we die for, take an innocent life for
    That's not what He means
    And it doesn't matter what book you read

    Thursday 18 October 2018

    Your Way - My Way

    This year, two friends sadly decided to unfriend me on Facebook. The problem is that my friends are extremely varied. I have blog friends, internet friends, old school friends and assorted relatives all rolling about with fans of my books and poems. They span every race, religion (including atheists), sexual orientation and political party. Whilst I like all of them, we don't always see eye to eye. 

    The two friends I lost were deeply offended by the facts I'm (friend #1) not a vegan and (friend #2) I'm not feminist enough. Written that way it sounds absurd, but it still makes me sad. The vegan in particular was a dear friend. I had no problem with her world view and dietary choices. I just wish she'd shown mine the same respect. I'm still proud of my vegan friend for standing up for her beliefs that our world could be kinder to animals. I was proud of the fact my feminist friend stood up for equality until she turned it into "man-bashing." When I told her to stop being rude to men, she left.

    Your Way, My Way or the highway... it shouldn't have to come to that. The fact each and every one of us has something we hold important shouldn't become a reason to walk out on our friends or begin to hate each other. 

    And that's the really ironic part - most of the people I know who are likely to argue with me on Facebook or elsewhere are those who want the world to be a better place. People who don't care never argue. It's only those who care deeply that fight with each other, because their concern becomes a passion and too often that passion becomes "The Way". Looking at all my friends and family I can say honestly that there is no single Way: there are hundreds. All of them worthy and all of them geared to improving the planet or humankind.

    Can you imagine how powerful we'd all be if we supported each other as we each followed our own Way instead of trying to force everyone onto our chosen path? And all it takes is respecting our differences and taking a little time to find out what we have in common. I know my life is so much better for having friends who are vastly different from me. I would never want to only have friends just like me, how boring would that be!

    Monday 8 October 2018

    Musical Monday ~ Hunger

    An awesome one this week. Listen to the lyrics and you'll know what I mean. Video is superb as well.

    Florence and The Machine - Hunger

    Thursday 4 October 2018

    Letting go of Anger

    I saw this recently and thought it worth sharing.

    This is something our world needs to find other ways to deal with. We turn our grief into anger to give us energy to fight our way out of grief or fear, but in doing so... we then turn the anger on others who we hurt (or make fear us) and thus the cycle continues. 

    Same with individuals... same with nations.

    Tuesday 2 October 2018

    Work for Peace

    It's a month before Blog for Peace, so I'm setting the mood with an old song that has been haunting me lately.

    "Work For Peace" by Gil Scott-Heron

    Americans no longer fight to keep their shores safe,
    Just to keep the jobs going in the arms-making workplace.
    Then they pretend to be gripped by some sort of political reflex,
    But all they're doing is paying dues to the Military Industrial Complex.

    The Military and the Monetary,
    get together whenever they think its necessary,

    They turn our brothers and sisters into mercenaries, 
    they are turning the planet into a cemetery.
    The Military and the Monetary, 
    use the media as intermediaries,
    they are determined to keep the citizens secondary, 
    they make so many decisions that are arbitrary.

    The only thing wrong with Peace,
    is that you can't make no money from it.

    The Military and the Monetary,
    they get together whenever they think its necessary,
    they've turned our brothers and sisters into mercenaries,
    they are turning the planet, into a cemetery.

    Got to work for Peace,
    Peace ain't coming this way.

    We should not allow ourselves to be mislead,
    by talk of entering a time of Peace,
    Peace is not the absence of war,
    it is the absence of the rules of war and the threats of war and the preparation for war.

    So this is a song about tomorrow and about how tomorrow can be better. 
    If we all,
    "Each one reach one, Each one try to teach one".

    Nobody can do everything,
    but everybody can do something,
    everyone must play a part,
    everyone got to go to work, Work for Peace.

    Spirit Say Work, Work for Peace

    Friday 28 September 2018

    The Ultimate Radical

    World politics has turned into a TV Soap the last few years, on all continents based on what I hear from friends and family abroad. No surprise that this in turn has led to some pretty heated "debates" on my Facebook wall and in my emails. I'm not one for sitting quiet if I think something is wrong or if I think something else is a great move forward.

    What has surprised is how many people have leapt to the assumption that I'm "Left" which is amusing in a way since a few firmly Left friends have nagged me for NOT being Left. I'm also constantly told I'm New Age which is equally confusing. I am a Pantheist (who loves Jesus); they've been around for a very long time. 

    Am I Left? I will admit that a lot of the Left parties have policies I agree with, but then again... there's a lot they stand for that I don't agree with. I've never voted for the classic Left party of Britain: Labour. I doubt I ever would. But I most certainly would NEVER vote Tory Right either. It's Green for me first and foremost. No point in a vote without a healthy world to cast it in.

    So what are the things I'm saying and/or standing up for that have led so many of my friends (and even some family) to think of me as being a Lefty? I had to stop and think about that this morning, since it's been bothering me for weeks.

    This is what I've figured out...

    I support the rights of others very different from me (races/religions/sexual orientation) - This is due to what I learnt from reading about Jesus as a child. He said to love thy neighbour and then pointed out that the radically different person is our neighbour.
    Matthew 22:36-40 King James Version (KJV)

    36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment.

    39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

    I support feminism and women's equality - Also due to Jesus. He was the first feminist I ever met. He called women "Daughters of Abraham" which was extremely radical. There is no such title. Jewish MEN were called Songs of Abraham, but women were just... nothing. Jesus changed that and gave them equal dignity and respect. He also allowed women to touch him, which was also radical back then. In fact... everything he did related to women was radical.

    He spent time teaching Mary and reprimanded Martha for thinking chores should come first before spiritual studies. AND he treated her as a disciple, not merely as a woman he was talking to. This is shown in the fact Luke says she sat at his feet, which is symbolic and meaningful. Disciples being taught would sit at the feet of their teacher.
    Luke 10:39

    39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His Word.
    Which leads me to saying I am fairly radical, same as Jesus. :) Like him, I think we have to let go of out-dated laws or ideas that no longer suit us. Like him I believe change is inevitable and to be embraced. He even promised that spirituality would change from people needing a religious leader/teacher to each person claiming their own sacred autonomy of having God's Holy Spirit within them to lead them. I fully support that as well!

    I am pro choice. I think women deserve to have power over their own bodies, including pregnancy. These are my personal feelings, but they are backed up by the Bible. It strikes me as VERY odd that many Christians are against this as they are actually not aware of what the Bible says. The Old Testament states that it is the breath that is the moment of life. A foetus is not seen as living until it draws breath. This is why the crime of forcing a woman to miscarry was punished with a fine (Exodus 21:22) whilst murder of any type is punished by death.

    I support the rights of children - that every child should have a peaceful, loving, healthy environment, good health care and a decent education.  That no one should ever abuse or harm ANY child. You certainly can blame this one on Jesus. He's famous for his outspoken love and protection of children.

    I am not 100% pacifist, but I do try to look for better ways than war, hate and violence. I support sensible gun control, more diplomacy in politics and less frantic armament of our nations. This is in part due to common sense and having experienced war/terrorism growing up, but also due to Jesus. He proposed a very tough commandment to be better than those who harm you. To rise above it and not react blindly in hate, rage or fear. To show others respect in order to teach them respect.

    Luke 6:27-31
    “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
    I am "Green". I support alternative energy, less cruelty in how we deal with animals (wild and domestic), more recycling and better protection of vital natural resources. No, not coal and oil. I mean trees and water. We can live without coal and oil; we cannot survive without oxygen and drinking water.  This is mostly due to common sense. I will live a day or so without water - I could endure a lifetime without coal or oil. I can live without new gadgets, but I can't live very long without clear air to breathe. Can't say that's obviously Christian, but it did strike me as sad that God told Adam and Eve all of this planet was his gift to humans and then we trashed it. Sort of shameful, like we're spoilt brats.

     I believe in the power of Love to make the world a better place. I'm completely bemused as why some think this makes me New Age as I learnt this straight from Jesus. There are so many Bible quotes on this that I had a hard time picking one. I went with John, as he's my favourite. :)

    John 13:34-35

    34 A new commandment I give unto you: that ye love one another, as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.


    And finally, I know that I'm doing all the right things, because it's actually Jesus who told me so. I'm me, with his blessing.

    Matthew 5:3-10

    “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they shall be comforted.
    Blessed are the meek,
    for they shall inherit the earth.
    Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they shall be filled.
    Blessed are the merciful,
    for they shall obtain mercy.
    Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they shall see God.
    Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they shall be called the sons of God.
    Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    Hold On

    Pueblo Indian Prayer

    Hold on to what is good,
    Even if it's a handful of earth.
    Hold on to what you believe,
    Even if it's a tree that stands by itself.
    Hold on to what you must do,
    Even if it's a long way from here.
    Hold on to your life,
    Even if it's easier to let go.
    Hold on to my hand,
    Even if someday I'll be gone away from you. 

    Thursday 27 September 2018

    Tunnel Vision

    I'm bringing back an idea I had years ago of something thought-provoking for "thoughtful thursday". Feel free to join in, but let me know so I can read your blog post, please.

    It's hard to read my emails lately and not end up feeling either depressed or frustrated. It can be summed up by a poster an American friend sent me. Just change the "it's good for.." country's name to Australia, Great Britain or Canada (yep, even Canada now has people in employment having to use food banks due to rising prices and low wages).

    And be aware that by "farmers" most countries do not mean your local small farms, but more your "big business" mass-producing farms.

    I'm still constantly taken aback by this short-sightedness of extreme greed. Too many politicians  think the top three on this list bring in money and the base group do not...

    But it is the much larger base group who use the banks and buy the farmers produce. Without a stable middle class, everything falls apart.

    It's obvious, it doesn't take much of a brain to figure it out, and yet way too many world governments are so thick they can't realise it. A healthy, well-fed and homed society ADDS to productivity and the national economy. More poor makes the whole country more poor. A small top layer of super wealthy cannot keep an entire country's economy afloat.

    And they keep making this same mistake over and over... even though the shops and factories are closing, the houses are being taken back by banks who then cannot sell them and the amount of homeless keeps growing.

    If I were to add a prayer here, it would be to ask our world leaders to realise how stupid they are being.

    Nothing changes if nothing changes.

    Wednesday 26 September 2018

    The Green Chickens of Mars

    A long time ago, in a living room far far away... I discovered the awesome powers of the Green Chickens of Mars.

    It began one average day. I was talking to a family member (you know who you are! :P ) and had a hunch that they weren't actually listening to me. I'd say something... they'd go "mmm?" or "mmm..."

    A strange, mad power enveloped me... I opened my mouth and said, "They've discovered green chickens on Mars."
    My non-listener replied, "mmmm..."

    I finally had proof!

    Since then, for well over two decades, I have used the Green Chickens of Mars whenever I'm in doubt that people are listening to me. It works brilliantly and instantly picks out who was utterly not listening... 

    Me: "The Green Chickens of Mars are invading this summer."
    Them: "mmm..."

    from those who were half listening, but need to be refocused...

    Me: "The Green Chickens of Mars have invented trans-dimensional time travel."
    Them: "Uh... WHAT did you say? Chickens of WHERE?"

    to the odd few who were actually listening...

    Me: "The Green Chickens of Mars are famous for their minty freshness."
    Them: "How does this relate to what we are talking about?"

     Whichever reaction I end up with, it's always fun. I love those Green Chickens!

    Comic book cover thanks to Pulp-o-mizer.

    Go check out the rest of Bradley's art. His Celtic shop is equally awesome.

    Friday 21 September 2018

    Half Filled

    The old saying about pessimists seeing the glass half empty and optimists seeing it half full has been on my mind this morning. Some friends were talking about a news item about young man who joined a hate-cult and went on a rampage, killing innocent people. They were wondering why someone seemingly normal would join a group that did such terrible things and it got me thinking...

    What if it's about how we fill that glass?

    I once knew a person who had belonged to a cult. What struck me today was not how a cult holds onto a person with various forms of brain-washing, but why someone is drawn to a cult in the first place. People naturally want and need their glass to be filled. By "filled" I don't mean the obvious things like money, love, fame and success. Those things are important, but what we all hunger most desperately for is PURPOSE.

    Such a bland word, but without a sense of purpose we are nothing. It is more important than money or power or fame. I was about to add "or love" when I realised that purpose IS about love. Having a sense of purpose gives us self-respect, which is vitally important and strongly connected to self love.

    Some people find their purpose in a career or a creative art form; many find it in religion. But it all boils down to the same thing... that worst emptiness in our glass of life is a lack of love. That emptiness might be that we were never loved as children or never taught how to love ourselves. We might be empty due to mental or even physical illness. Or perhaps we became empty when life broke us in some manner; through abuse, neglect, poverty or war. 

    An empty person searching to be filled is the dream target of every group, because he/she will do anything and try anything to fill that emptiness. Empty people are willing to spend more money. And empty people aren't only more willing to buy fake products they don't actually need... they're also more open to buying into fake news, fake political agendas and fake religions.

    And once they're filled with poison and lies, they are completely ready to buy into being told that their emptiness was due to THIS group or THAT group taking what was rightfully theirs. So easy  to create a scapegoat that the cult member is willing to kill.... so easy to change the word "cult" for any other type of hate group.

    The only way I can see of stopping that is by teaching every child and person how to love themselves. Sounds trite, but you're not likely to be brain-washed if you trust your own judgement and you're not likely to turn on others in mindless rage if you are completely happy in your own skin.

    Time to fill the glasses...

    Thursday 20 September 2018

    Wonder Full

    Stunning water sculptures by Malgorzata Chodakowska. You can see the entire collection HERE.

    Wednesday 19 September 2018

    No More

    Something struck me this morning as I was reading my Facebook wall; people all over the world are sensing the changes many of us have been predicting for decades. The tide is turning.

    All over the world I'm seeing more and more people saying "This isn't good enough" in one way or another. We're not willing to be mushrooms any longer? Or perhaps the planet itself is reaching crone status?

    Feels like Mother Earth is becoming Crone Earth ready to shout, "NO MORE!"

    Sunday 16 September 2018

    Monty Puthon and the Holy Quest of YO

    I was text/chatting a friend (Kim) today. We both tend to be typo queens and we share the same kind of silly humour, hence the title of this blog post. 

    We were talking about life in general. We've been friends a long time and in that time we've both gone through a lot, good and bad. I was commenting on how people talk about life as being a plod up a mountain, but that's not quite true. 

    I said, "No one tells you that ascending the mountain is done on a yoyo bungie cord."

    Because that's how life feels, doesn't it? Today you're feeling epic, like you're striding up the mountain and then suddenly you fall ten feet as some unexpected problem hits you only to go  *SPROING* upwards as you find a way to bounce back. 

    Kim agreed and added, "and with the frequent head whack on the side of the mountain."

    That's when I saw us; a clear vision in my mind. We weren't spiders, we were Knights from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, valiantly questing through life's ups and downs with irreverence, mild insanity and a complete lack of co-ordination, 

    ...but when I tried to tell Kim my epic vision I typed "Monty Puthon" and we both ended up laughing. It was downhill into silliness after that.

    Goodness knows, we all need more humour lately! The world seems to be winding itself up on seriousness.  I've also noticed way more touchiness around the internet. I've been unfriended twice on Facebook for my "offensive" life choices and once for my political views. Considering the fact I'm politically Green, tolerant of all religions and not interested in anyone's sex life... that's quite a feat! The three people I've offended come from completely different political views and religions, so Kim pointed out that at least I'm "an equally-offending opportunity partner". LOL

    But it's not just others who have been more touchy this year. I've had  my moments of losing my temper as well. Some arguments have been equally matched with irritation both sides.

    Laughing today about the up-and-downs of life, I realised that I need to get the YO back in my yoyo. That mojo of magical madness, irreverent Heyoka humour and silly walks. Life is too short for taking seriously.
    It's much easier to climb the mountain if you lighten your load. ;)

    Wednesday 5 September 2018

    Movie Cuts

    A while back, someone I knew told me how they had managed to miss the ending of Ben Hur three times thanks to freaky bad luck. I had something similar with South Pacific. It was on TV during a thunderstorm and about 15 minutes before the end... bzzzt... nothing.

    But my most annoying, frustrating and yet also most funny cut-off moment wasn't due to a power cut. It was... well, let me tell you the story! It all started in a movie theatre, on a planet in a galaxy far far away...
    It was some time in my teenage years and the movie was the long-awaited sequel to the first original Star Wars.

    I'd been waiting an eternity to find out what happened next. Now finally, there I was sitting with all the other excited Star Wars fans waiting to watch the sequel. The movie started and the magic began. Luke Skywalker came bounding back into our reality, riding a wonderfully weird alien critter on a planet of snow. I was hooked, once again.

    Luke, seemingly lost in the snow, sees a vision beginning to form before him. The ghostly figure of Obi-Wan Kenobi appears. Luke stares... shocked.

    The entire audience held their breath as Obi-Wan lifted a hand and, with a deeply serious look on his face, he pointed at Luke and said... (in a very loud, unknown voice)

    "Will Johnny Smith please call at the front desk.
     Your mother wants to talk to you."


    What kind of insensitive idiot breaks in with a message at the critical moment of a movie?

    Now, you have to remember I was a teen and my finances did not run to seeing a movie a second time purely to hear one or two sentences. And this was long LONG before video tapes or DVDs. I had to wait ten years to finally rent the movie out from a video shop and find out what Obi-Wan said.

    And you know what's really funny? I can't remember what he actually said! I'll forever remember him humiliating Johnny Smith, and probably bringing about the break up of his relationship with his mother, in front of an entire jam-packed Saturday audience.