Thursday, April 13, 2017

A Children's Story for All Ages

An Easter story
Once upon a time there was a great and glorious king who lived in the kingdom of Everland with his grown up son, Daystar (who was the spitting image of his dad) and a mysterious beautiful other person who was always with them.
The mystery about this other person is that you could never quite see him: it was as though you could a- l- m- o- s- t catch a glimpse from the corner of your eye - but then, no, not really.
One day this king decided that he would love to have a BIG family. Lots and lots of kids to love and who would love him too.
So he decided to make them (he could do that, so great and powerful was this king!)
To prepare for their big family, the king, his son Daystar and the mysterious beautiful other made a whole planet which they called Gardenland.

They fitted it out with everything the new children would need and a gazillion extra things just for fun.
Things like animals, birds, rivers, waterfalls, forests, flowers, seas, colours, music . . . 
So many wonderful things, just for them
It was like a playground and a perfect home all in one!
When everything was ready, the king made his children and put them into Gardenland.
They loved it there!
And the king came every day to play with them which made it perfect.
It was a happy time for everyone.
Then one day, the dark prince, who was very handsome but very wicked, sneaked into Gardenland without anyone noticing.
 He was VERY jealous of the king and decided to take his family away from him.
So the dark prince told lies to the children about the king - he told them the king didn't really love them at all and that he was tricking them.
The children believed him because he was so handsome and SO good at telling lies.
The moment they believed what the dark prince told them, a sort of mist came down over their hearts and  minds: they became afraid of the king and hid away from him.
The children also began to behave badly and hurt one another more and more instead of being the happy family the king had planned.
And Gardenland began to be very different, with sorrow and danger instead of the happy exciting place it had been.
The king was very sad about his family and very angry with the dark prince.
"We have to rescue our children from the dark prince and bring them back to us," he said to Daystar and the mysterious beautiful other.
"They have to know they ARE loved," he said.
Daystar was eager: "Let me go to Gardenland to rescue them. I have a plan. You stay in Everland and help me whenever I need it," he suggested to the king.
The king and the mysterious beautiful other agreed to his plan
So Daystar arrived in Gardenland.
He came quietly
No one knew who he really was and what he had come to do.
But day by day the great plan unfolded.
Some children began to believe that Daystar really had come from the king in Everland and, as soon as they believed, the mist lifted from their hearts and minds
Immediately they knew that the king really was glorious and that he really did love them.
So they joined Daystar in his quest to rescue the other lost children.
Their only weapons they all had were words of truth, like swords clashing against the lies of the dark prince.
The  mysterious beautiful other, who often came to help, made sure those weapons did their work well!
But the great plan had to include a dangerous and difficult day which would complete the rescue and lift the mist from the hearts and minds of all the king's children who had been trapped by the lies of the dark prince.
Sadly there was a high price to pay for this final rescue and Daystar had to pay that price
All by himself.
You know how sometimes it happens that a very brave person will risk his own life to rescue someone else? And sometimes, even lose his life doing so?
Well this is what Daystar was willing to do to rescue all the king's lost children.
The great king and the mysterious beautiful other were heartbroken to leave Daystar to do this hard thing alone.
But he said, "I also wish there were another way but there isn't, so I WANT to do this to get our children back," because he loved the king and they loved the children.
And so, the dangerous day dawned.
A truly terrible and sad day because Daystar gave his life to rescue the lost children
But it was also a truly glad day because it was the start of all the children having the mist lifted from their hearts and minds.
As soon as that happened, they remembered that the great king was their father and really did love them.
And they begin to love him again too.
It was also a joyous day because the dark prince had been beaten and his words had been seen to be lies.
And so this day is always remembered in Gardenland with both sadness and gladness: sadness because of what Daystar had to suffer and the heartbreak of the king and the mysterious beautiful other who saw his sufferings.
And gladness because the great and glorious king's family could come back together with no mist clouding their hearts and minds any more.
And - oh yes!
There is another happiness to the ending . . .
Daystar did not stay dead but very soon came out of his grave, full of life and so glad that the rescue mission had succeeded.
He went back to Everland where the family of the glorious king now have their forever home
But that's another story . . .

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Around the Bliksem Bush

B is for


If you stared at that word in puzzlement, you are probably not South African.
Because this is our word, created originally by the Afrikaans speaking community and used exclusively (till now anyway) by Saffers.
Maybe, after reading this, you'd like to introduce it into your own vocabulary as it is
A DEEPLY satisfying word.

Firstly, how do you say it?
"Bluck - sum"
Accent (heavily) on the first syllable.

It has a dazzling array of uses -

A tough problem.
eg: Sympathising with a friend who is struggling, "Ja man, its a bliksem alright!"

A rascal.
eg: At the cat who stole the boerewors for the braai off the counter.
Or the teen that finished the last of the chocolate, "You little bliksem!"

Could be anger, or affectionate exasperation.
Tone of voice plays a big role here.

A rogue.
eg: Chasing after a group of thieves, yelling, "You blerry bliksems, wait till I catch you!"

Anyone who makes you mad.
eg: Those bliksems who mow their lawns at two oclock on a Sunday afternoon!
Or. "Those bliksems who shoot through red traffic lights!"

Anyone who disagrees with you
eg: Those bliksems don't know what they're talking about. They should just shut up.

Any ref who blows up your side
eg: Heyyy you bliksem, who stole your glasses!?

Someone to be admired for their cleverness or wit.
eg: "Jislaaik, but he's a clever bliksem!

Indicating sudden pain or fury

A naughty kid, cat, dog etc.
eg: Now listen here here, you little bliksem

In order to make an adjective of it, just add "se"

eg: This was a bliksemse fun post to do.

Monday, April 3, 2017

B is for Being Real

Being Real

Since I am South African, and I'm breathing, I'm aware of the cataclysmic things happening in the political arena here
It's not my intention to go into it (it is easy to check it out if you want to; it's all over the media.)
But to explore the tension between the outrage I feel and being a Christ follower.

I note that Jesus never seemed to get pulled into the politics of His day
And He lived in tumultuous political times with the Romans occupying Israel and lording it over the people.
It is evident that the people were being overtaxed, but He still said, "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's . . . "

His teachings, and His life indicate turning the other cheek -
As in, when much is demanded of you, offer more,
Remembering that we belong to a different Kingdom

How do I interface my following Christ with what's happening around me?
If my faith is authentic, it will influence every part of my life
And there is no dodging the tricky bits.
How does loving my enemy,
Turning the other cheek
Praying for those who despitefully use me (and others),
Forgiving as I have been forgiven, work?

How can I ground these Kingdom principles in my ordinary life
Against the backdrop of evil actions that will hurt this nation so badly
And harm the poorest of the poor the most?
What do I do with the emotions that I feel?
I cant pretend they aren't there.

Do protest marches have a rightful place for me?
For us?
Or is our battle on a different front? A different line?
I don't have answers; not yet.
Maybe you do?

In the meantime, God bless Africa.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Three More A's

I think I will stick with A for a little while.
It seems rude to abandon her so soon.


I'm embarrassed to admit this
But the fact of the matter is that I feel aimless at the moment.
I know there are many ways one can involve oneself in good causes
But I need a sense of "fit" -
Is that too much to ask?

At 73 I don't want to fritter my life away in odd bits of service, just so I can feel useful.
I want to feel purposeful, excited and challenged
I want it to make a difference;
To matter
Even if matters to one person
It surely isn't too late for that ?

I never realised how much I miss moving toward that kind of goal
Until recently.
I want that again.
Not just any goal
But something that makes my pulses race
Something that seems impossible, silly, grandiose


I have never ever done a cartwheel
Or even a handstand.
I guess you could say I am not acrobatic.


Oh art!
I have a love/hate relationship with you

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A is for Write.

They say the key to writing is to write.
Something every day

I don't r-e-a-l-l-y want to do a "about my life" type blog (although it may impinge from time to time)
so I have hit on this plan -
Going through the alphabet, writing on random subjects, starting with the letter for that day.
I am aiming at (holds breath) something every day!

This is a kind of dare to my doubting self -
Will I keep at it because I've said it out loud in public?


"Angry is just sad's bodyguard" *

If this be so, our country must be one of the saddest places around.
The level of people's anger is intense, bubbling just below the surface, ready to explode into view at any moment.
Today, with the president having summoned our esteemed Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan back to the country in the middle of a road show overseas like a naughty school boy, the anger is palpable.
Of course this is just the latest in a litany of other questionable goings on, which only adds fuel to the fire.
There is anger -
About the levels of corruption
About the funnelling funds to cronies and away from the poor, who have always suffered the most
At the betrayal of those people who faithfully vote for the betrayers every election, choosing to believe that maybe, just maybe, this time they would deliver.
At a country being run into the ground for some people's personal gain.

And behind it all, sadness looking for a way to cope with the pain.

  *Liza Palmer


Monday, March 27, 2017

Too Much

When I was at school, I loved writing essays.
That is, if we were given a small range of topics to choose from.
I would choose one easily and sail into my subject.

What fried my brain was to be told, "You can write about anything you like."
My thoughts would dart about like frightened rabbits, trying to latch on to a substantial idea.
I felt strangely unsafe
As if the world had suddenly become too large and there was nowhere for me to hold on to..

If there are many choices, I'd rather exit. Thanks.

I suppose my malaise boils down to an aversion to too  much choice.
You know, when  I sat down to write this blog, I thought to myself,
"You can write about anything at all."


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Fast Forward.

Fast forward over the chasm of time since my last post
To today.
This I can say, the days of the non adventures of the little man, see also here and here are a vague memory now.
Suffice to say, he is no longer under that tree, gazing wistfully into a shrouded future
Not sure how it happened but he is on his feet and trucking again.
Maybe it was that owl's strategy after all . . .

As I type I am surrounded by boxes, packed and waiting to be packed.
After 14 years in this "house with a view" we are moving to smaller pastures.
But hopefully fruitful and fun ones.
I am viewing the next while rather as a caterpillar going into a chrysalis: that during the more cramped time mysterious and marvellous changes will happen
And we will emerge all new and different
Able to view life from new perspectives, flying light and high.

Its an exciting thought.