Recently my wife’s 91 year old grandmother had a leg amputated. A difficult and sad time for anybody, one would think. Well, she’s not just anybody.
Prior to her going into the theatre, she had other patients in complete stitches with her positivity. In fact, if you didn’t know any better, you’d think they were having a party, with her being the life thereof. Coming out of the operating theatre, she had some visitors who came to visit and encourage her with some uplifting / edifying words. One of the visitors gave her some encouragement from the Bible and her response to him? “I can’t argue with that, I don’t have a leg to stand on!”
What a fantastic worldview to have. While we may not necessarily lose a leg in the course of our activity today, all of us will face some difficult or challenging situations. Whatever you do though, don’t let that cloud your positive outlook on life.
So, it could be suggested that for ‘One’ to not be aware that the world has, in the last few days, welcomed a new British Royal , ‘One’ would have to be living under a pretty sizeable rock. Actually, on second thought, let’s make that a colossal boulder. Yes, I do apologize to all of you ‘Ones’ out there, but well, it’s a fact. Over the course of this week it will have taken some considerable effort to avoid hearing, seeing or stumbling upon any snippet of this heavily hashtagged #royalbaby news. News that has literally spread like wild fire, catching the attention, hearts and imagination of global onlookers.
To those to whom however, the above does apply, let me get you up to speed for the sake of my blog-gery. This week’s breaking story, covered on pretty much any TV station you cast your attention to or media medium you use, has revealed that the much loved eldest son of the late Princess Diana, William Duke of Cambridge and his beauty of a Duchess, Catherine, have introduced a bouncing baby boy. Not just any bouncing baby boy, this chubby cheeked cherub stands to be a future King of England, being heir and third in line to the Crown of a monarchy that has survived for centuries upon centuries, whilst other ‘ has been’ monarchies have sadly come and gone. Quite an achievement for one week old George Alexander Louis aka “His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge”. Umm, hello!
Anyway, as quite the “Rule Britannia” hailing Royalist Briton and having had the British monarchy’s history (yes, inclusive of the blush-worthy scandal “stuff”) drummed into my psyche for my entire British school career, I won’t pretend to not feel a sense of pride and patriotic ownership when it comes to the addition of this little furry, peachy royal. Amidst the world press’s royal frenzy and constant updates about pretty much everything related to his family, his late grandmother, her legacy, his name, his uncertain future as King of England, oh and yes, not to mention the artistic impression I saw in the news yesterday of a Genetic Counselor’s prediction of this teeny Prince’s appearance as a teenager (the mind boggles), I do feel that it’s really easy at this time to just jump onboard the paparazzi baby train, taking on the media’s account of the latest ‘happenings’ while totally missing what’s actually important and beautiful in this whole palace fairytale. That being, the magnificence of a new life begun and the promise that this represents.
It was only earlier this year, I remember holding my sister’s youngest daughter for the first time. A wonderfully precious baby girl, all crinkled and new, I felt overwhelmed by the realization of the life that she could lead and the massive potential that was snuggly blanketed in my arms. It hit me that with her new life, came new promise and with new promise, unbelievably incredible and uncharted potential. Yes, of course, this is obvious when it comes to a child, but who’s to say that it can’t apply to us all?
I read a quote quite recently that said “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending” (Carl Bard). This, I guess, means that there could in fact be hope for all of us, young or old. I have to assume that because you’re reading this, you aren’t a newborn, but additionally you reading this also means you are alive. So, yep, you guessed it, you qualify in the ‘anyone’ category.
There’s an ancient Latin motto that says “Dum spiro spero”, which translates as “While I breathe, I hope”. So, regardless of where our lives are at right now, whatever challenge we face, or seemingly impossible obstacle we encounter, there must always be the capacity to hope and as a consequence and regardless of our age, be immense potential for change. While this potential won’t give us the opportunity to experience a totally new life, it does offer us the opportunity to take hold of a totally new start. It is merely a choice. A choice that only we are able to make for ourselves. A choice which has the power to entirely change the landscape of our lives.
Ok, so maybe you’re thinking that this doesn’t apply to you today, but tomorrow? Who knows? His Royal Newness’s arrival has once again reminded me that while I have life, hope is always accessible…I dare to believe that somewhere along the line, we may all need to be reminded of that..
My kids love it when I tell them stories, sing and act stupid around them. One of their favourite songs is the one with the spider; you know the one that goes like this (see video):
What I love about this song is the fact that every single time we sing this song, that poor spider gets washed out when the rain comes; but the moment the sun comes out, he gets right back to climbing up that water spout. That is one determined and driven little spider right there.
Maybe you feel like that washed out spider. Don’t you quit, that’s only half the song. In the book of psalms the Bible tells us that weeping endures for a night but joy comes in the morning. So if you’re feeling like that washed out spider today, do yourself a favour and sing along: Incy Wincy spider…
While I was driving home from work the other evening, I thoroughly enjoyed the sunset over my city. In fact, it made me long to be on the beach with my lovely wife, staring off into the horizon. This longing was rudely interrupted with a completely different view. This picture completely saddened me.
It reminded me again that while many of us are so caught up in our own lives, there are those who are desperately crying out for help. Sadly, there wasn’t much I could do about that situation other than alerting the authorities. The issue goes beyond poverty though, in fact it made me think about my life, my family and my neighbours.
I’m determined to be a good father to my children and will move heaven and earth for them. What about there little friends though? Maybe I should just continue making my way to the sunset on the horizon. The African in me won’t allow that though. I can never be father in the true sense of the word, to all these other little ones I see running around my house and street I live in. I may never be able to change their home and family circumstances but I can surely impact their lives by embracing and treating my neighbourhood kids as my own.
To my African brothers, maybe it’s time we go back to these values, where your child is my child and my child is your child. Maybe you and I should extend our fatherhood to a generation that has no idea of what that means. I remain focused on introducing my kids to a life of sandy beaches with sunsets on the horizon and being a good dad to them, but wish to share that with those children around me who are silently crying out for the love of a father.
Once upon a time, I remember being told, “Melanie, someday in the future, you will learn some valuable life lessons from your children”, at the time, I recall doing the ‘smile and wave’, walking away and thinking, “it’s ok, that’s just the kind of thing parents say to non-parents to make them want to become parents like them”.
Now, quite frankly, I love children and do one day plan to have my own. No secret there. Little warm bundles of giggles who, like peachy sponges, soak in details of the world around them with wide eyed amazement. Details that us grownups probably don’t even notice anymore. I mean, it seems that whether it’s the tiniest of worker ants or the beaten up cardboard box their Mom’s vacuum cleaner came in, life seems to be nothing short of a fascinating adventure, filled with endless discovery for the miniatures among us. That said, to the above statement, skeptical, I remained. After all, if ’with time comes wisdom’, isn’t it the responsibility of the old to teach the young about life?
Enter Cicely Grace.
5 and a half years ago my eldest sister introduced her beautiful, golden haired, firstborn to the world. My niece, Cicely. Now, since the day of her birth, Cicely has always been something of a sparkling human whirlwind. Her name pronounced like the Italian island so famous for its vibrancy and colour, Cicely is a little girl very much like her namesake. Full of zest, she laughs, dances, smiles and pretty much befriends everything breathing, stuffed with fluff and in between. Granted, I am biased. How can I not be, she’s my fun little buddy, my fellow booty shaker that would give Beyonce a run for her money and the definitive of bomb.com in every single book out there. That all said there’s certainly something way more significant about this little girl than all the things I’ve mentioned. She lives a life that is totally uninhibited.
Oblivious to prejudice, caring not for the opinions of others or what the world would have to say about the way she looks, acts, speaks; she is beautifully unaffected by the one thing that with time and age we all become far too aware of with. Ourselves. She is free of superficial insecurities, doesn’t live based on having been informed of or judged by her limitations and boldly faces everyday with the confidence that she is everything spectacular that those who love her have told her she is and can conquer anything she puts her mind to.
So, my life lesson from a 5 year old? To live simply. To live freely. To have the kind of self belief that isn’t based on the prejudice of others I know, the media or frankly anyone who would have a voice that would shut down or destroy. Much like Cicely we all, although perhaps no longer 5 years old with pig tails, were intentionally created, so why not be proud of the everything we are and own our space a little? When did we stop being WHO we were when we were 5 anyway?
So I always feel pretty disappointed when I hear one of those ‘good-guy-gone-bad’ stories in the news. People of the highest profile, regard and influence, the respected and seemingly infallible, losing their credibility in an instant through one poor decision, a momentary lack of judgment or even just as a result of the plain old human condition of stupidity.
Now that I think about it, even quite recently there have been quite a few of these so called ‘fallen from grace’ cases. As it happens, these are just men and women who in many ways are much like the rest of us, but whose situation was once drastically altered by some type of talent combined with stars aligning, right place/right time moment, which consequently led them to be “popular”. In the context of the mass media however, this kind of colossal success can become something of a poisoned chalice where the ever scandal-hungry media wolves watch and lie in wait to publicly expose the publicly admired. The effect: these lives become mere gossip fodder and conversation starters for the rest of us. Think Oscar Pistorius. Think Lance Armstrong. Think Mel Gibson. Think Tiger Woods. And the list goes on and on.. and on. They do say the ‘bigger they are, the harder they fall’, so I suppose there’s no real reason to be surprised here, but I say it again, it’s never anything short of disappointing.
So, over the last number of weeks, the world watched as yet another one of the ‘good guys’ somehow made his way into the hall of fame of the name and shamed. Tim Lambesis, superstar front man of the Grammy Award-winning metalcore band, As I Lay Dying was arrested with charges of solicitation to murder his wife. And so, the wolves started to gather.
Having seen this story in the news and also having heard that ‘As I Lay Dying’ is a Christian metalcore band, my interest was sparked and I, the ever curious individual, decided to get my ‘research on’ and went into a bit of a Google frenzy in an attempt to get to the bottom of the most recent episode from the ‘fallen from grace’ series. At this juncture, I do have a confession. It was only up until very recently that I had ever heard of ‘As I Lay Dying’. Sitting in my boyfriend’s car in fact; it was actually a very sincere attempt to appreciate his music but granted, I have yet to become a metal head. That aside, in light of recent events it wasn’t the style of the music or the band itself that caught my attention.
With solicitation of murder charges being raised, speculation spiralling out of control and stories of extramarital affairs, denunciations of God and a possible ‘set up’, it’s very easy to lose perspective and forget that the ‘superstar’ at the centre of it all is actually just a man. Truth is, as the story has been unfolding it seems very likely that Tim Lambesis made a really bad call somewhere along the line. I’m not in any way saying he’s guilty of the charges being laid before him but whatever the truth may be, this horrible scenario is something that he will never forget and will have to live with for the rest of his life. This is where I think the biggest tragedy in the ‘good-guy-gone-bad’ story doesn’t ever really lie in the story itself. Let me explain. Soon, this will be old news, cases will be closed, the rest of the world will move on and slowly but surely the once juicy details will be forgotten. And what will be left? Tim Lambesis.
While the legal outcome has yet to be determined, in this context and very ironically may I add, “..as I lay dying” couldn’t be a more sobering statement for Tim Lambesis, this situation and the ridicule he’s facing as a result. For there to be any glory found and revenue made in seeing someone so publicly exposed for their flaws, only to be criticized further when they are at their weakest, would suggest the world really has become quite a strange place. Talk about kicking a dog when he’s down.. Something that in other circumstances society would frown upon. Umm, so it begs the question; what’s the difference here exactly? It would appear that many loyal fans have rallied to support Tim Lambesis through this process but in truth, shouldn’t we all? Potentially seeing the end of a career, the end of a marriage, not to mention his freedom would surely lead us all to exercise a bit of compassion, regardless of our sensitivities? Well, ‘if to err is human’, let’s hope for ALL of our sakes, the answer to this would be yes.
As a Bible college graduate and someone who committed their life to be a follower of Jesus, there are quite a few things I know about faith, Christianity and the Bible. So whenever I hear preachers and teachers speak from God’s Word, I can usually decipher early on what they’ll say and where they’d like to go with their talk. Why? Well, because I know stuff.
So, the other day I am sitting in church and I’ve lost a bit of interest in what the preacher is saying because like I said, I know stuff. Suddenly he says something that puts a thought in my head that I just can’t get rid of for the next few days. The thought? “I am Nicodemus!”
Not so much the fact that this Jewish scholar came seeking a personal encounter with Jesus at night but because he thought he really knew stuff that he actually knew very little about. For as much as he knew about his faith and the scriptures, he knew nothing about Jesus the Messiah. This made me wonder how much I really understand about what I know about God and His Word. The answer to that question, of course is… very little.
Well my subsequent introspection, deliberation and quiet times have led me to revisit something I already know but clearly never fully understood. God is Big. And I thank my Big God for the little that I know about Him.
However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. – 1 Corinthians 15:46
There is an undeniable pattern that runs consistently throughout the history of mankind. It can be found all through the Bible in the stories of Ishmael and Isaac, Esau and Jacob, Saul and Paul, the two Abraham’s, the two Adams and, of course, Cain and Abel. It’s the age old struggle between good and evil; more specifically, the fight between the spirit man and the flesh man.
Our latest video, My Brother’s Keeper, portrays the timeless tale of Cain and Abel, a story which perfectly highlights the strife between the first and the second born. Cain was a ’tiller of the ground’, a crop farmer, whereas his brother, Abel, was a shepherd. God accepts and appreciates Abel’s offering but rejects Cain’s. Although God warns Cain of the dangers of sin and the malice growing in his heart towards his brother, Cain is unable to overcome his desire to kill Abel.
The story of Cain and Abel is still very relevant for us today. The two characters define the two very different classes of man in the world – the carnal and the spiritual. The word “carnal” finds its root meaning in the word “flesh”, relating to things that are worldly and sinful. Like in this story, the spirit and the body (the carnal, the flesh) are two ‘brothers’, one from the ground and one of the spirit. God cannot accept the offerings we make in the sin-contaminated, but accepts, loves and appreciates the Spirit man. And the carnal man wants to destroy the spirit man within you.
My Brother’s Keeper is an arty representation of Cain and Abel and illustrates the story by presenting sin as a physical entity, which is seeking to manipulate and influence Cain (the flesh man). The heavier Cain’s heart becomes with hate, the more visibly sin appears, until it finally overshadows and overcomes him completely.
While the video might prove frightening for some, it was created to bring awareness around this very complex struggle. Sin never looks pretty. Not to the spirit man in each of us – and certainly not to God.
Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” – Genesis 4:6-7
Why is controversial so controversial?? Or is it just perspective?
We live in a new world where tolerance is key. In order to fit into society, you better be tolerant of all the weird and wonderful people out there. A group which has definitely been outcast from most of society’s tolerance has been homosexuals.
In recent years, the fight for tolerance towards homosexuality has been a fierce and strong one. However, what about people who have turned away from homosexuality? How do they feel and how will they be looked upon? There are testimonies of people who were once homosexual but after a few experiences and revelations, decided that life wasn’t going in the direction that they would want it to.
Sadly, many people I have spoken to believe these “reformed homosexuals” are lying and kidding themselves. Many think that, once an individual has experienced the life of homosexuality, changing is impossible. There is the belief that they will “relapse” and fall back into what they are used to. To the skeptics I say, you are being just as judgmental as those who judged them for being gay or lesbian in the first place. This is why I believe those who come out and share their testimonies are brave. I commend anyone who has the courage to recount their life story openly, show the world their experience and provide other people who have gone through similar experiences a new hope.
check out some of the testimonies below:
Eugene – Coming Out The Closet
Philip- Seeing Myself As a Man
ZELDA – Treated Like a Boy
I Never Wanted to be Gay
In researching this topic, I’ve come across some interesting things. In the process ive also acquired a large list of Google searches that nobody would ever want in their browser history like “can gay people turn straight”
From what I have seen, it is much harder for a gay person to try and go back to being heterosexual, there is an awkward pressure and animosity from the different communities and it becomes extremely difficult for the individual. So these videos serve not only as a personal testament, but as a light to those who are in a struggling situation and not sure how to get out.
As a Christian, I know that homosexuality is not what God intended in the design of men and women, but as a human I also know not to judge other peoples choices, and for some reason Christians find it easier to tolerate non Christians who seem more normal to society, but can’t do the same with those who have chosen certain paths like homosexuality. This is such a touchy subject with varying opinions bursting in your head right now I assume, just hold your horses for a seccy..
Whether it’s in mainstream society or religious beliefs, I think love and acceptance should be the standard we set for ourselves and then go from there.
Opinion time! What do you think the worlds standards should be? In a place where everybody is different yet we are all stuck in the same boat… Is there place for moral absolutes?
In today’s society we get bombarded with constant bad news. Reading about murders, rape and accidents every single day has become a norm we have accepted into our lives without question.
I recently realized the effects all this bad news has had on my mindset.
I think because I’m a woman I’m more prone to paranoia than most, but just being alone at home made me aware of every little crack or noise. Just walking down the road turned into torture as each person walking behind me would turn into a suspect! I would say a little prayer of thanks every time I got home unharmed.
It’s not that I want to live an ignorant life, but so much negative news cannot be good for one’s peace of mind. So I decided… no more news for me for a while!
Instead of reading newspapers and watching news bulletins, I started diving deeper into other people’s good news, whether it be an engagement, marriage, new baby, new job, promotion or just celebrating life in general!
Because if truth be told, that is what God intended us to do from the beginning -enjoy life and share love!
There is so much good stuff out there that we don’t often hear of because the bad news get flashed into of our faces on a daily basis. It’s up to us to stop concentrating on the negative and rather concentrate on the positive and good out there.
So go on – share your good news with others, whether it be a huge or a small thing. You will be surprised how your good news can become their good news.
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