WHERE DID MY TRUE SELF GO?

The end of a year is always a good place to reflect upon where one’s life is at and where it is heading. My problem is that being a thinker is an intrinsic and essential part of who I am . I think too much, too deep, too often. Can’t be helped! When you meditate on things as often and as deeply as I do, you come to realise that when certain thoughts and ideas keep creeping up is because they need to be considered and acted upon, or else they will haunt you and be forever present as painful reminders of your lack of courage and the hope deferred of what could have potentially been a much more fulfilling, purposeful life. There is something in our consciousness, in our spirit that acts like the rudder of our life. We are the ones turning the rudder but ultimately it is most definitely not us at the helm, or at least that is my own personal experience. I am under no false illusion that I direct my steps, but at the end I would like to think that I was able to at least recognise and act wisely, intuitively on those moments in life when I encountered a junction on the road or when a seemingly accidental curve ball was thrown my way to force me into jumping one way or another, to make a choice, to push forward without fear or coercion.

Perhaps what I have been experiencing in these last few months is nothing more than a mid-life crisis; a point in one’s life when you take stock and ponder on all the what-ifs, all the alternative paths one could have taken or may yet still need to take. It is a cliché to state that in the midst of investing one’s life in raising a family and cultivating a marriage with solid roots; in living sacrificially by putting everyone else’s happiness before your own, one can easily loose their identity and simply be identified as the link that keeps different chains together, be it family, work or relationships. Cliché or not, I have most definitely found this is true in my own life.

The recurrent thought or voice echoing on my head as of late has been saying: “Stop hiding behind what you are good at, what is familiar, and go on the journey to discover what it is you are destined to be, what it is you are meant to excel at. Go on a journey of self-discovery. Put for once in your life yourself first and discover what it is that you were made for, what makes your heart sing. I have spent so many years putting everyone else’s needs before my own that I am beginning to feel that my voice, the essence of who I am has got lost in the midst of life’s demands; my voice has been drowned out by those whose voices matter most or so I thought.

I know this will sound heartless and self-absorbed, but I am all about being honest to others and primarily to myself, and so I call it as I see it. Yes, I must say it: I would like to wake up tomorrow and not feel the ongoing, relentless, unforgiving burden of being a mum, a wife, a sister, a daughter or a friend. I want to know what it feels like to be truly free, free from a heavy sense of responsibility, free from the yoke of religion, education, history, expectations and promises, free from the oppressive sense that our life is all panned out for us; from the predictability of what is to come; the barrenness of what will never be. I long for my chains to be broken so that I can walk forward with only one thought in mind: How can I best use my personality, my knowledge and my gifting to be able to claim when it is all said and done that I have lived my life fully, without reservations, fear or regrets; that I have always been true to myself, pursued my truth and no one else’s?

Every fibre of my being assures me that I was meant for more than what I am today, than what I have achieved so far, and I am not talking about a reputation, fame or material success. I am referring solely to a place where my life will finally reach its purpose and full meaning; a point where I can assuredly say: “I have arrived”; a point where there will be no more internal turmoil, wrestling or strife. Perhaps such a place doesn’t exist, but why then be tormented by a void within that no one and nothing can fill? I know I am not alone in feeling this. When you move in Christian circles, you are told that only God can fill that void, but God’s presence is ever beating in my life and yet that void, that call to something more meaningful not only remains but rings louder and clearer each time.

I do not regret the path I have chosen, far from it, but I do not want to resent it because it stopped me from finding out who I am besides Mercedes the mother, the daughter, the sister, the wife. There is so, so much potential in all of us to do extraordinary things. I do not want to short-change myself by hiding behind what it is I am expected to be doing instead of braving it and embarking on the quest of finding what I was truly made to be. I know that longing I feel burning inside of me is a seed that has been planted in my soul. I did not put it there. To ignore that latent undeniable inner call that incites us to discover what is yet to be achieved, what is yet to be fulfilled is to clip the wings of a bald eagle and expect it to still dazzle us with its majestic presence and skill.

There must be more than this. I know there is!

Celebrity Culture is the most inexcusable form of ignorance

In an age where Social Media is King, personal interaction and family values have become the next casualty in a long line of species which have and are becoming extinct. Celebrities have become our God. As long as the distance between them and us is kept, so is their perfection and inability to do wrong in our eyes. We live in a world full of awe, mystery and wonder. We find ourselves right at the centre of it, and yet we are utterly lost, confused as to what is our purpose, the meaning of our endless toil and weariness throughout our brief lifetime in a vast expanse of infinite, glorious space and time. We spend our life desperately looking for answers in all the wrong things; we pursue happiness through all the wrong avenues. Yes, some do make the journey slightly more bearable for a time: alcohol, drugs, money, sex, you name it, but after the hysteria and adrenaline ebb away, after each binge, comes an even bigger fall, a deeper pit we struggle to get out of, as we come once again face to face with the bottom-line realisation that we are flawed and in desperate need of rescuing.

And so having tried all the usual avenues for a quick fix and despite the fact that history has taught us time and time again that all these paths lead nowhere, like dogs we go back to our vomit; we become suckers for punishment, and then we pridefully pat ourselves on the back and remind ourselves and each other that it is our intelligence that sets us apart from the animal kingdom. Something is different today, though. We have gone from an age of Theism, Agnosticism, Atheism, etc. to the worst and most SELF-DESTRUCTIVE alternative: Discarding the logic possibility that a God could have made us into His own image and believing instead the nonsensical illusion that it is us who can make Gods in our own image and be sustained, rescued and healed by them.

And so it began, an Era where we no longer entertain the possibility of a Superior Being, a spiritual reality which has brought about the heavens, the earth and everything that is in it. Instead, we use our superior intellect to come up with the alternative of making Gods of other people, venerating them and putting them on a pedestal. So long as these celebrities remain distant and out of reach, we can sustain the illusion that it is they who define the optimum state of being that any human can aspire to: to be successful, internationally recognised, to look aesthetically pleasing, to have charisma, sex appeal, do good deeds, champion a cause or dip in an out of altruistic pursuit often enough to sustain the lie that their life is more selfless, worthy of recognition or called to a higher purpose than that of the rest of us mere mortals.

Social Media lends itself perfectly as the optimum medium, the ideal environment which  can turn celebrities into our own personal Gods with the mere click of a button. But let’s remind ourselves at this point that those of us who look up to and even adore celebrities are not the only culpable party in this sad and cancerous fallacy. Celebrities for the most part willingly feed and thrive in this lifeline that evolution and technological progress has handed to them. Yes, there are many whose reputation precedes them for their dignity, honesty, hard work, dedication and commitment to their craft, but these values are not present to any lesser degree in a mum who dedicates her life to sacrificially giving of herself to her children, or a husband who sacrificially commits to making his marriage a success. I could give you a thousand examples of “everyday” people, faceless individuals whose lives are full of honour, dedication, hard-work and sacrifice, but the difference being that what they do is done in secret, without expecting anything back, or assuming a self-righteous sense of entitlement to special treatment by the rest of us. These faceless individuals are the true unsung heroes of our time, the real human beings who live with purpose, whose unassuming presence and unapparent progress causes invisible ripples of transformation and goodness which ultimately make our world a better place.

What is the number one criteria which defines a God? Perfection. Our human intellect and life itself give us enough proof that no human being is perfect, but add to the mix the convenient ingredient of creating a virtual reality, a cloud where the only acceptable currency is “make believe and having more than a hundred thousand followers”, and presto you can produce a God out of any celebrity in a matter of seconds. Furthermore, celebrities can keep that God image alive infinitely by intervening in the proceedings every once in a while and feeding their devoted worshippers the next delicious morsel by way of a twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. entry, which will keep them loyal and prevent them from becoming defiant until the next time. How easy it is to help others put us on a pedestal when we create a safe distance where no one has access to who we really are behind closed doors, to who we really are when no one is looking or reading. How easy it is to appear humble, focused, committed and dedicated to a higher cause than our own success and development, when we don’t have to surrender anything, make any personal sacrifices, or give any of our choices and everyday luxuries up in order for that to happen. Simply retweet a link to a charitable cause or endorse someone else’s altruistic work and let the thousands of followers/worshippers reach into their pocket and do the rest for you , raise that much needed profile, reputation and awareness across the earth in a matter of seconds; raise the millions needed to bring action to desperate places and people with the click of a button and get all the credit and further veneration from your loyal subjects.

The longer a celebrity can sustain their mysterious aura, that manufactured image which followers are desperate to trust and believe as real, the more their Godly status will be enhanced and accepted, and how can one do this? By cleverly marketing themselves and surrounding themselves with smart PR companies who know what sells and how to sell it. Study your target market carefully, what your fans crave for and then just feed them exactly that, never letting them see WHO truly lies at the core of that illusion they have created and which you have done nothing to dissipate: a flawed human being in search of answers to deep existential questions just as much as you and I, an imperfect being on an unending quest for love and acceptance as much as the next ordinary person.

This Celebrity Culture however, sustained by the elusiveness and lack of accountability propitiated by social media, is doomed to self-destruct from the onset, for even those celebrities turned into Gods can’t live up to other people’s unattainable expectations, and inevitably they trip and fall along the way, just like the rest of us do. Some can hide it better than others, but nothing truly goes unseen or unheard any more in this electronic world we live in; in this Big Brother existence we lead. Many celebrities create an image of humility, integrity, consistency, goodness and selflessness, of living for others and not themselves but soon enough thousands of shreds of evidence to the contrary circulate globally. They paint themselves in a particular light but a picture here or a quote there betrays their secret and their chimera no longer stands.

And so it finally dawns on us that being a celebrity is not all it is cracked up to be; that so many celebrities have earned the right to look at the rest of us from up high on their lofty pedestals on no other grounds than because we were weak and ignorant enough to put them there.

SIGNS AND WONDERS ARE ALL AROUND US – PART 2

When you are a nervous flyer, you need all the help you can get: moral support, emotional reassurance, the odd reminder of how to breathe properly and even the more effective reminder that whether we fret or not, it is all in God’s hands anyway, so why waste energy worrying about what may or may not happen, right? Easier said than done, though. Phobias can be and often are totally irrational, but for those of us who suffer them, they are as real as the air that we breathe and often cause you to suffer in silence uncontrollably; they are as tangible as feeling your every heartbeat resonate so loud, strong and fast within your chest that your heart no longer feels like a heart, but instead a time-bomb which could explode at any moment; they are as evident as copious amounts of sweat running down the palms of your hands soaking whatever you touch. It certainly doesn’t improve things when you are surrounded by people who lack any kind of empathy or compassion and who put your phobias down as cowardice or a lack of courage, enhancing your already disproportionate sense of doom and gloom.

I always pray hard and often before boarding a plane, not just as I am sitting down in readiness for take off but on the days leading up to my departure. I pray that there is not much turbulence and that we have a safe and enjoyable flight. It is often said that when we pray, God does not answer our prayers so that we get what we asked for, but so that we get what we need to build up our character in order to fulfil our purpose during our journey on this earth. I have found this to be true, time and time again. There are however times when I strongly sense God sending me a life-line or some sort of encouragement to ease the fear of what I am about to embark on, literally.

On this occasion, that lifeline came in the form of Martin Freeman. Only God really knows the life-altering, redemptive and healing effect that The Crucible and Richard Armitage’s rendition of John Proctor had on me; only God really knows the deep and complex reasons why I feel my spirit is so akin to Richard’s; only God really knows the turmoil and heart-break I have gone through in these last few months as I have experienced first hand what it is to be hounded like an animal on social media for simply exercising my right to free speech and to expressing up-front my personal opinions with respect and honesty. Therefore, only God could have known how much was truly riding on this “holiday” and what would be the one and only occurrence which would put my fear of flying at bay; only God could have known how to take away my apprehension and replace it with ironic humour; how to put in front of me a sign that anyone else but me could have missed (indeed no one else but us queuing up to go through security, seemed to recognise Martin Freeman); only He could have been so attuned to me to give me the very timely and opportune reminder that though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for He is with me; his rod and his staff shall comfort me; He will never leave me, nor forsake me.

Think of all the actors in the world I could have bumped into at the airport; the very many days when I could have been at that specific terminal (compared to most I travel often and not just for pleasure but to visit relatives); the many hours in the day when flights take off; the many moments in a minute, minutes in an hour when I could have found myself in that exact queue right next to someone who is so emblematic of the very reasons why I was so desperate and in need of getting away at this point in my life. A miracle would have been to have Richard Armitage himself queuing up right behind me, but bearing in mind I was aware that he was in Vancouver or LA at the time, that turn of events would have been too obvious a choice of a miracle and not have required much faith on my part, would it?

To be continued in Part 3

FEEDING ON THE VERY EVILS WE CLAIM TO HATE IS LIKE TRYING TO CURE A CANCER WHILST WE GO ON SMOKING – Part 3

You have probably guessed by now that my two previous posts were referring to Richard Armitage’s recent choice of role in the third Season of the TV Series  Hannibal directed by Bryan Fuller, which is, it seems, extremely popular in the United States. Please believe me when I say that I have never before opposed something without actually having experienced it first, apart from the obvious pits such as drugs, binge drinking, promiscuity to name but a few. It is with great reluctance and much apprehension that I embark on this seemingly unjustified rant, as I have nothing but sheer admiration for Richard Armitage the actor but more so the person, but try as I may, I cannot bring myself to watch anything related to this series, beyond trailers, short YouTube videos of the two previous seasons, scenes from the film Red Dragon, or to read sections of the book it is based on by the same title written by Thomas Harris.

Let me put my reluctance into context. When I first started researching on this, the first thing that came up was a video which described Hannibal, the TV series,  as “Disturbingly Delicious”: disturbing referring to the stark, vivid,  shocking imagery related to the crimes committed by some of the characters, and delicious because there is this kind of generally accepted vibe going on in social media amongst many supporters of this series, including its producers, that murderers who torture, mutilate & eat their victims, is  fair game as the subject of laughter and banter. If you don’t believe me or think  I exaggerate, look no further than on #Hannibal, the twitter feed of the program, or google reviews such as this one which says, I quote,  “See, the trick is to hide all your gore and carnage within a pristine baroque palate of gorgeousness. And then make people want to vomit.”

http://uk.ign.com/articles/2014/06/05/hannibal-8-12-extremely-disturbing-moments

Personally, I think that although the Horror Genre is not for me, it is valid and an art form in its own right, and I appreciate that some enjoy it as a way of escapism; can’t quite bring myself to describe it as entertainment. Maybe if as a society we begin to ask ourselves the tough questions such as why do we live in a world where people get such a kick out of watching the most violent of murders and even cannibalism, we will begin to be able to tackle the problem of violence, suicide and even terrorism.

Nevertheless, with each new Horror program that is produced, the boundaries of what is acceptable as an art form seem to be pushed further and further with a complete disregard for the effect some of these programs and the hype they create may have on those watching who are mentally unstable, incapable of discernment, the young and easily impressionable, etc. We all put our hands to our head when we watch the news of yet again another savage murder, killing spree at the hands of a person/persons who on the outside seemed like a “normal” balanced individual. I am by no means blaming these type of programs for a murderer’s actions, clearly, but many agree on the effect that violent graphics and behaviour in video games have on young and/or vulnerable individuals, so how is a TV program centered on such horrific violence any different?; why is it exempt of any responsibility? It is no good hiding behind the argument of the program being certified 18. We all know many youngsters and even parents do not pay any attention to these restrictions or guidelines, so let’s not pass on the bucket of responsibility. We all must do our bit, surely! What hope is there for aiming to become a balanced and healthy society, if we all happily shift the blame on someone, something else; if we turn a blind eye on what is so obviously detrimental to a healthy society? The blind leading the blind springs to mind (no pun intended with regards to the relationship between the characters of Francis Dolarhyde and Riba, the blind woman, though now that I mention it….maybe topic for another blogpost though highly unlikely)

There has been much talk recently in the news about the responsibility of sports men and women who many children, teenagers and even adults see as role models. Whether we like it or not, we live in a world where individuals are becoming increasingly isolated as we spend a large amount of our time on social media, on the internet, or simply away from other people. The sense of unity, support and oneness which make for healthy, strong communities is ebbing away, and so as people, we are becoming isolated islands in a big, dark scary ocean instead of many cities or states which are quite diverse but joined together under one continent or country. We are therefore plodding along alone and often frightened, because we no longer have that support network or sense of being anchored safely by our emotional and physical bond to others. As a result, the most vulnerable, the most naïve can’t help but look up to the so-called “role models” in our society and be guided by their actions, attitudes and behaviour. If the pillars of our society, the movers & the shakers, and particularly those who regulate and are at the height of the entertainment industry have no scruples in putting together or allowing a program which homes in on evil of demonic proportions, can we trust our youngsters, the mentally ill, the mentally vulnerable to apply censorship filters to something which potentially may trigger violent behaviour in them? I don’t think so. Violence breeds violence. I think most of us can agree on that.

But if that wasn’t enough deterrent for responsible talented adults from jumping on the ever increasingly popular and widely accepted money-making wagon of Horror movies and Horror TV series, let’s then focus on the issue of making violence appear sexy or appealing. I cannot begin to tell you the number of tweets I have recently read of people who admit to actually “falling in love”, admiring and even feeling sorry for some of the characters, mainly the psychopaths at whose hands the most violent and horrific of acts take place. Many speak of these characters with utter admiration based on how highly intelligent, charismatic and even endearing some of them are. For the morally discerning and mentally balanced person it is easy to draw the line between fiction and reality, to tell the innocent from the guilty and  the victim from the psychopath, but what happens when a person who is not mentally healthy or who is not mature enough finds it impossible to draw a clear line between these polarized principles which are so obvious to the rest of us? With such charismatic and highly intelligent characters who are able to draw in, during the Hannibal series, even those who are supposedly in authority and responsible for bringing the killers to justice, how can we expect a vulnerable impressionable individual to not elevate these characters to role model status even to deity status? It happens. We often witness on the news loners/bullish gangs who go on a rampage in the name of this, that or the other, completely losing perspective on the boundaries of what is right and what is wrong, of the very blurry line that sometimes  lies between the circumstances that define someone as the victim or the perpetrator.

Richard’s recent casting together with the recent introduction to the upcoming 3rd season of actor Zach Quinto has launched an avalanche of excitement round the Twittersphere centered along the fact that since these two actors are so “hot” and “sexy”, Hannibal must now make for compulsory wiewing. Richard Armitage himself said during an old interview about the issue of violence in “The Hobbit” films: “Peter Jackson always had this debate with his design team and the actors that you can’t undersell violence. It needs to be as shocking and violent as it really is, but you can’t glorify it or make it look sexy or appealing”.

I am pretty certain Richard is going to find it absolutely impossible to not play to the millions of fans’ expectations who are eagerly waiting to see a “sexy” Francis Dolarhyde do his thing. The eroticism in the #Hannibal series and the film ” Red Dragon” where Ralph Fiennes played the character of Francis Dolarhyde is undeniable and no doubt part of its wide appeal. I have nothing against that. It clearly has its place when done carefully, tastefully and responsibly, but when you mix eroticism with extreme violence and the characters playing both are ranking in the top places of magazine’s sexiest men lists, we have a serious problem. So much for not making violence look sexy or appealing. I know this would never be Richard’s intention in accepting that part, far from it, but how can it be helped? When you read fan’s tweets, this is exactly what is pulling in most of the viewers who are expectantly waiting for the 3rd Hannibal Season to be aired. I just think Richard is far superior, classy and better than all that. But I am just a fan, right? So who am I to have my say? Well, seeing as I have already had a fair share of abuse, aggression and disrespect on my twitter account from Hannibal fans (which ironically only serves to confirm and validate the points I share here), I feel it is necessary at this point to point out the obvious: THIS IS MY OWN PERSONAL OPINION WHICH I TRUST I AM ENTITLED TO, AS I BELIEVE I STILL LIVE IN A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY WHETHER FREEDOM OF SPEECH IS HIGHLY REVERED AND RESPECTED (#JeSuisCharlie,  for those who have already forgotten). At no point have I been rude or disrespectful to the person of Richard Armitage, whom by the way I admire and care for greatly. I hope that this transpires from my two previous posts on this subject.

I leave you now with some extracts from the very many reviews I have read on the Hannibal Series. You can make up your own mind, just as I have! In an ideal world, I would have preferred to reserve my judgement until the series is broadcast and I get to see for myself whether I am talking nonsense or not, but I just cannot bring myself to watch it, though I have really tried. Whatever the outcome, there are two things I already know for sure: the first one is that Richard will give his absolute best and all in that role and will do it for artistic purposes and as a personal and professional challenge. The second thing is that his character will be oozing sex appeal as will others’, and inevitably sex-appeal and violence will be married together by the least discerning as a valid and appealing trait/behaviour which one can emulate and even look up to. The rest is history, and as it is often the case, we will look back at history and learn the lessons we couldn’t learn whilst they were staring us right in the face.

The last thing television needs is more serial killer dramas. (emphasis is mine) But when they’re this well made, this smart and creative and unexpectedly funny? Then, yes, more “Hannibal,” please.” More from http://www.hitfix.com/whats-alan-watching/review-nbcs-hannibal-serves-up-delicious-second-season-course

“In the end, this show is not about cops and killers or even reality and dreams. It’s about how art affects the mind and body. It explicitly likens its subsidiary serial killers to striving artists (emphasis is mine) struggling to perfect their style and be noticed by the public and appreciated by critics (the FBI). The killers work in mixed media: wood, steel, soil, plants, flesh, bones, teeth. When Will describes an especially elaborate murder scene as “a canvas made of bodies,” in which “each body is a brush stroke,” he’s describing Hannibal itself.” Read more from http://www.vulture.com/2014/02/tv-review-hannibal-season-2.html

“Even with all the vomit-inducing states of death it presents, the most unappetizing part of “Hannibal” is its lack of humor. Viewers need a break from all that darkness, and there’s very little to laugh at except the gastronomic episode titles, which include “Aperitif” and “Amuse-Bouche.” In seriously exploring what drives people to kill, “Hannibal” serves up a meal too heavy to enjoy each week.” http://articles.redeyechicago.com/2013-04-03/entertainment/38255785_1_hannibal-lecter-graham-bryan-fuller

 

 

 

My best birthday present to date has been the GIFT of Awareness.

Today I am 44 years old.  Never before have I felt so comfortable in my own skin, so happy to walk in my own shoes, so free to be who I am called to be and to exist in the manner that I was fearfully and wonderfully made to exist.

Of all the presents I have ever received none come even close to the magnitude and beauty that the gift of awareness has meant in my life and that of those who share in this life alongside me.

To me a birthday is not an annual occurrence but a daily one, for each day is a fresh and new opportunity to share in God’s grace, to be showered in his blessings and to find new mercies in Him, and most importantly to be reborn and bathed in His Spirit . I want to spend the rest of my life cultivating a heart that is aware and grateful for all the good things and for the meaning, purpose and reason behind the bad things too.

Today on my 44th birthday I am GRATEFUL:

  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that we have the opportunity to start afresh each day, for the bad to be washed away through Christ’s redemptive nature and for the new to take hold and meaning.
  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY  AWARENESS that up to this point it is the grace of God and his mercy that have sustained my faith, my marriage, my parenting, my children, my health, my home, our business, our extended families, our friends and those spiritual lighthouses who help us to keep perspective and a righteous frame in our daily walk.
  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that miracles are not only found in the unexpected, extraordinary, unexplainable, or grandiose occurrences, but much more so in the little details of our existence and that of our environment which we don’t take any notice of because we take these things for granted. There is a miracle in the new rose bud that is about to open, the dove that flies over my garden as I am praying, the weird and wonderful cloud formations that keep me forever wondering, the laughter of a friend who is able to laugh and appreciate friendship despite his personal challenges and struggles, the fight within of a cancer sufferer who refuses to give up and battles with all they have until the power of determination overcomes the power of the illness.  There is a miracle in the Autistic child that can’t make heads or tails of why he feels the way he does but is able to say “Mum, I love you and what am I going to do when you are no longer here with me?”. There is a miracle in the husband who one day fights with the frustration of being let down by his wife and the next renews his affections and love by giving her a gift.
  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that much will be asked of those of us to whom much has been given and alongside that thought the awareness that I own nothing really but I am a steward to much and therefore have a responsibility to myself, God and others to look after those things and people who have been entrusted under my care; to be generous with them and compassionate.
  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that millions suffer everyday as they lack the most basic of needs and rights, and the painful DAILY awareness that their joy always manifests within them in equal measure to and despite their pain. What is our excuse for complaining about our own predicaments? How dare we?
  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that I am here today but may no longer be here tomorrow and what did I do with all my todays and tomorrows?
  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that today never comes back and so after it is gone would I have left the world or at least “my world” a better place?
  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that I fail my calling everyday to honour God and to love him above all else with all my heart, all my soul and all my strength, and yet He never fails to continue forgiving and loving me, because unlike me He is not the God of second chances but countless.
  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that the fire that keeps the coals of my faith burning does not lie within a church, a church family, a religious system or even a house group, but with the Spirit of God Himself and I therefore have a direct source and access to that Spirit for He lives in me and I in Him and it is that constancy and that assurance that keeps my fire burning and not any external agent within the natural realm.
  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that only when I have failed, I can learn what true success is and how to obtain it.
  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that every now and then I need to take some punches in order to be taken down a peg or two so that I do not think of myself higher than I ought to.
  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that my birthday is not today but everyday and with each new day comes a fresh opportunity to become aware of all the things above all over again, an opportunity to stop, take stock and give thanks for the grace and the unconditional love that God gives me and which I do not deserve.

THE BEST BIRTHDAY PRESENT IS KNOWING THAT WITH EVERY BREATH I GET YET ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO BECOME AWARE OF HOW BLESSED I REALLY AM AND AN OPPORTUNITY TO DEMONSTRATE MY GRATITUDE IN A PRACTICAL WAY.

IF I CAN ASK FOR JUST ONE THING ON THIS MY 44TH BIRTHDAY, LORD I ASK TO NEVER LOSE THIS AWARENESS AND TO ALWAYS DO SOMETHING WHICH LETS YOU KNOW THAT I AM GRATEFUL.

God’s strength sure shines through in our weakness as death in Jesus is never the end but a glorious beginning

This is the video of Daisy Love’s Memorial Celebration (related to my previous post)

It is one of the most inspirational, up-lifting, encouraging, pure and most importantly truth-full testimonies of how Jesus Christ is indeed the way, the truth and the life that I have ever had the privilege and blessing of seeing and hearing.

Thank you Britt, Kate and Isaiah, and above all thank you Daisy for though I did not know you, your faith, your journey and your soul have touched me in ways and depths which no other human being has been able to. The Spirit of Christ shone through you whilst on this earth, but now your Spirit lives on and glows like a star for eternity as you ARE with FATHER in HEAVEN.

Thank you Lord for bringing this family into my life and my own journey and the life and journey of thousands of other Christians around the world who have been drawn that much closer to YOU today and forever through the endurance, selflessness, joy, love, compassion, generosity and specially and above all through their  utter and complete trust in YOU and YOU alone JESUS.

HERE IS THE ROOT OF THE ROOT AND THE BUD OF THE BUD….

This post is inspired by the desire to share with you all a timeless song with a timeless message:

When you feel your world is spiralling out of control, when you feel time is beyond your grasp, when you fret because there are not enough hours in the day, when you wallow in self-pity, when your life is all about the future and making plans, when you feel there cannot be a God who allows such suffering, pain and evil, when you feel hard done by and taken for granted, when you are downcast, when…..when….when….

Remember to stop, breath and simply re-learn to live each second of your life as if it was the last, remember those moments will never come back and what is the point of poisoning and wasting the ones left with self-pity, regret, fear, hatred and resentment? Cherish what you have, no matter how little or unvalued, no matter how infrequent or even more so when too abundant that you end up taking for granted the little details of what makes your life worthy and worth-living in God’s eyes.  You do have a purpose, you are here for a reason.  Find out what are those things in your life God has given you as gifts, and then love on them, cherish them, sacrifice for them with your every breath, and ALWAYS, ALWAYS remember they are gifts and we are to be grateful for every single one of those and we are to honour the Gift Giver by simply never neglecting them or by developing an attitude of entitlement in our hearts where Enough is never Enough.

Here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud: it is in living for others and by a daily practice of self-sacrifice that Your Life will take on its TRUE meaning. It does the soul good to often be last, to not have a turn, to go unheard, to  go unnoticed, to become invisible, to accept we know nought, to suffer pain and rejection.  It is then and only then that one can clearly and brightly see the power of God in one’s life. It is then and only then that our hearts are in a place to be able to acknowledge where we sit in this awe-inspiring universe. It is then and only then that Faith has a chance.  It is then and only then that God places in your hands the best gift of all: being able to better another person’s life by simply becoming the stepping stone upon which they stand so that they too can learn all these things and gain the right perspective, a purpose and a glorious future.