Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Think before You speak.

In a recent blog, "Can We Rightly Discern The Truth When We Hear It?" I recorded an incident told to me by a close family member. Upon showing her the article that she inspired, she wrote, “Great food for thought, although next time I will have too rethink what I say in case I get quoted again.! Ha Ha!!”
Although only jokingly said here, again I think it is really good advice for all of us at all times too, don’t You? For we never know when something we have said, whether correct or incorrect, will be passed on to others as correct, even If not.
So just how carefully do you weigh up and assess the things you say or even do? Something to think on, hey?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Are You an asset or just an expense?

As you go through your life right now, how do you truly see yourself? Do you se yourself as an asset for other people to have around them? Or are you more of a liability and expense for them to have you around? In other words do you contribute to the well being of others, or do you make others contribute to your own well being only, without giving anything back?
So whether at work or at home, whether doing it for money or for nothing, ask yourself, "Did I do a good job today? Was I an asset and not just an expense?" Author Richard L. Evans remarked, "It's priceless to find a person who will take responsibility, who will finish and follow through to the final detail - to know when someone has accepted an assignment that it will be effectively, conscientiously completed."
So again, are you one of those priceless people? Again whether doing it for money or any other reason, are you someone who can be trusted to be left alone to get the job done, knowing that it will be done and done properly and on time too? Or are you someone that everyone has to keep an eye on all the time, just to make sure that you even do the bare minimum required, let alone do it fully? Again, what say you now?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Comparing God to A Diet.

I hate to compare God to a diet, but it seems that a lot of people treat God a bit the way they do diets at times, doesn’t it? We become overweight and suffer from it and are put on a strict diet, which achieves the desired, required goal, but then!!!!!!!!!
Then, we decide, well now that I am down to the required weight I can go off the diet can’t I? Oh yes, at first we will not stray too far from the diet, but. But before long we are back to our old eating habits aren’t we?
Now as I said above, I don’t like comparing God to a diet, but for many of us, we do treat God the same way we treat diets don’t we? Good for when we need them but unnecessary the rest of the time. Well that may be how we treat God, but that is not how it is meant to be. And like when we break our diets and go back to our old ways, the problems return don’t they? So it pays in the long run for us all to stick to our diets of healthy living in the first place, doesn’t it? And the same is true for our relationship with God too. It is far healthier for us to continue to walk in God’s path, or if you like, in God’s diet, for you now, rather than pay the consequences later, isn’t it?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Do You Need To Walk In Someone Else’s Shoes For A While?

How often in life do we see things from the outside looking in, and without seeing or knowing all the facts, make judgments and form opinions about other people or things? Sometimes we may be right too, but many times we really do need to just stop and think and try and see things from the other side too and not just from our own small worldview, before we form those opinions, don’t we?
Back in 1970, Joe South wrote and sang, “If I could be you and you could be me for just one hour. If we could find a way to get inside each other's mind. If you could see you through my eyes instead of your ego. I believe you'd be surprised to see that you'd been blind. Walk a mile in my shoes walk a mile in my shoes Yeah, before you abuse, criticize and accuse. Walk a mile in my shoes.”
I think that this is very sound advice for, as Joe goes on to say further in the song, “So unless you've lived a life of total perfection. Mm-mm, you'd better be careful of every stone that you should throw. Yet we spend the day throwin' stones at one another. 'cause I don't think or wear my hair same way you do. Well, I may be common people but I'm your brother. Ad when you strike out and try to hurt me, it’s a 'hurtin you.”
So I urge you today, even if you don’t know the song or even Joe, to learn from his words of wisdom in it and learn, even if for only “one hour” to walk a mile in the other person’s shoes and see life from their perspective too. For as Joe also says, when you are hurting others. you are only ultimately hurting yourself too, so, “Yeah, before you abuse, criticize and accuse. Walk a mile in the other person’s shoes.” Yes, just not mine please, you might just stretch them!!!!!
Now seriously, yes we all need to walk in other people’s shoes for a while too! Will you do that before you speak next time?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Are You A Manga Fan?

Yes, are you a Manga fan or what about Anime? Are you a fan of it as well? Or are you like me, who had never heard the word before, let alone know what either is?
Well according to the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006. Manga is "Japanese comic books or graphic novels," c.1984, from Jap. "cartoon, caricature," lit. "involuntary pictures." Term said to have been coined 1814 by artist Katsushika Hokusai to "convey a sense of free-flowing composition and quirky style."
And Anime is a Japanese style of motion-picture animation, characterized by highly stylized, colorful art, futuristic settings, violence, and sexuality. [Japanese, short for animēshon, animation, from English animation.]
My how the times have changed since my youth. In those days you had comics and then on TV Cartoons. And then you had those quirky cheap japans styled ones. And now? And now they are an Art Form in their own right with their own following and individual names.
What else has changed by development since your youth and although once despised now is valued in its’ own right? And what other things are you currently rejecting as useless that perhaps you should be having another look t to see their true value now, rather than later?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Can We Rightly Discern The Truth When We Hear It?

Today’s query is, can we really discern the truth when we hear it? Or can we only discern the truth that fits in with our current pool of understanding and experiences? We went to Tea/Supper, with a close family member the other night and were again reminded that she had actually gone to the same High school as my wife for one year during their school days. Also I found out that although they hung around together through a mutual friend, she did not particularly like my wife then, because she found her to be a terrible little liar. In something like her own words she said, “What a liar. How could anyone possibly have 14 brothers and sisters? It can’t possibly be true, and the funny names that she calls them too! Maybe if they had been proper English names, I might have believed her.”
Little was she to know then, that in a few short years, she was to meet and marry one of these brothers, and the one with the weirdest sounding name (To Aussie/English ears) too!
Yes, even though there was a family near us with eleven Kids*, (that we went to State {Primary} School with), fifteen Kids in the one family with non-familiar names was just too much for a twelve year old to believe, so therefore the other person must be a liar.
Well enough of her here and what about you? Yes how do you honestly act when you first hear something outside of your normal experience parameters? Do you automatically dismiss it as untrue? Do you also dismiss the bearer of that information as a liar? Or do you accept it Holus Bolus, without checking, either? Both responses are equally wrong and hurtful often, even if not outright harmful, to all concerned.
So when you hear something that doesn’t fit into your current level of understanding or experience, check it out and find out what it all really is about. Today, and especially for those with access to the Web, it is so much easier to do just that when you come across something that sounds weird, like I did recently when I came across the phrase/concept of Manga. I had no idea what it was or whether it was just a simply mistake and they actually meant a Mango, so I checked it out. But I will save that for tomorrow now.
In the meantime, please do not be too quick to either dismiss, or too quickly accept all that you hear, but where you have doubts, check them out. And check them out as soon as possible too, so that if you are wrong, you can correct yourself, before making a complete fool of yourself by passing around incorrect information. Will you do that now? I hope so!
* Although she states that she only knew of the 7 or 8 younger ones then, this again warns of the danger of basing an argument or view only on partial knowledge, even if only young at the time.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Action or inaction, which is usually best?

Was glancing through the paper the other day and something in the financial section caught my attention, as it was headed, “Take action in right direction.” And it opened with; “Inaction can be as destructive to our wealth as poor investment decisions. Especially as we often approach investing with anxiety and concern.
Seeking the right advice, making a choice to implement a plan and then persisting with it can be the difference between achieving a healthy retirement or not.”
Whilst I am not quite in the position to take action in regard to financial investments, more the pity, I do think that what is true of investments is also true in our lives too I believe. So is there some decision or action currently in your life that you really should make a decision about but have been putting it off? Maybe now is the right time to reassess that what you need to do or not do, and making some decisions on that, then put those decisions into action? Remember, just thinking about it, will not make it happen. If you want something to happen, you have to make the decisions now, and then follow them through fully. It is no good, and often totally wasteful and expensive to only go half way with your decisions. You have to follow them through fully to the end.
It is a bit like going to a nursery and buying a beautiful and expensive plant to plant in your garden in just the right spot, but then taking it home and leaving it for another time to plant and then forgetting to regularly water it, only to find that when you are ready to plant it, it is dead through neglect and lack of water.
So whether it is a plant, a financial or even a personal matter, if there is something that needs a decision now, make it now at the right time, and then stick to it and follow it through properly. What say you?

Monday, September 22, 2008

How Bad Do You really Want anything?

Saw the following item on an –email: There's a story about Socrates in which a proud young man supposedly asked, "Oh great Socrates, I came to you for knowledge." Socrates led him down to the sea into waist-deep water. "Tell me again what you want," he said. "Knowledge." Socrates pushed him down under the water, holding him there for 30 seconds. "Now, what do you want?" The young man spluttered, "Wisdom, oh great Socrates." Again the philosopher pushed him under. When he let him up again he asked, "What do you want?" "Knowledge, oh wise and." he managed to spit out before Socrates held him under again, this time even longer. "What do you want?" repeated Socrates. The younger man coughed and gasped. "Air!" he shouted, "I want air!" Socrates replied, "When you want knowledge as much as you want air, you'll get knowledge." Then the old man returned to the shore. Bottom line: be passionate!”
Which leads me to ask, just how passionate are we about most things in our lives? Oh sure, we all want various things, but often only if given to us on a platter, so to speak, but if we find that we have to put ourselves out somewhat to get it, we often loose enthusiasm don’t we? So again, just how passionate are you about the things you desire? And what are you doing to bring them about?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Too much to do to whine!

Recently forwarded a chain e-mail to a dear friend of ours from our Transkei (South Africa) Days. To which I received this reply: “Thank you for excellent material on the Lord's Prayer, just received and read. Trust you and the bairns all doing fine. Our quarterly newsletter due out soon - so I will not lengthen this one - other thank to mention that these two "old-timers " - **** 84 and me 85 this week. **** - gall bladder removal two weeks ago, healing well - though exhausted! My shingles - now 16 months old, continues to demand medication and pain pills but there is too much to do to whine! Sharing in crusade in Gamalakhe Township (26 Sepot -4 Oct) followed by arrival of group of Americans for rural outreach. My job supply of tracts and training of counsellors.”
I couldn’t help but think, well here I am at my age, thinking I am struggling on, but here they both are, at an age well past retirement and with health issues that somewhat debilitate them but still they continue on as ever. This is the same man who 8 years ago was still on 6 or 8 different committees all over his area, and finding it hard to keep up with them all then and was thinking of trying to drop them all. I encouraged him to choose the most important and just try and drop a couple of the less urgent ones each year. At the time he thought it great advice, but somehow, knowing him, I suspect he didn’t and is probably still on most of them.
Anyway enough of him and even me, what about you now? Are you still actively involved in doing the things you love. Either for Money, or like my friend above, out of Love for the cause?
Perhaps like me and them, you have a few health ailments that curtail somewhat all that you would really like to do, yet hasn’t stopped you completely, if you want to do something?
So as I close, what about you now? Are you moaning and groaning and whining? Or do you too have too much to do to whine? It really is an attitude situation, so do you need an attitude adjustment? Or are you too busy doing, to whine?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Don’t Be Rude Yourself Also.

This follows my previous blog, “Don’t Be Rude”, and was inspired by the same Lynn Johnston cartoon from her comic Strip series, “For Better or For Worse”. Again the mother has gently told her young son, “ Honey, you have to be polite to people. You have to watch what you say!” “Don’t just blurt out the first that pops into your head. Think and THEN speak – so you don’t hurt anyone’s feelings” To which he replied. OK.” And then a few moments later, he asks, “ Mom? Could I have a pen knife?’ To which she replies, “At your Age?” and then adds, “Don’t be stupid!!!”
Another case of don’t do what I do, but do as I say isn’t it? Now before we judge her here, let us judge ourselves first and ask ourselves how often, not only have we done that, but also how often are we still doing that even now?
Again it is a case of knowing that it is just not good enough to just know what we should or shouldn’t do, but that we need to actively apply that knowledge into our own lives and among our own families as well as among strangers or visitors too, don’t we. What say you?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Don’t be rude.

Another inspired by the Lynn Johnston comic Strip “For Better or For Worse”. This one has the mother gently telling Her young son, “ Honey, you have to be polite to people. You have to watch what you say!” “Don’t just blurt out the first that pops into your head. Think and THEN speak – so you don’t hurt anyone’s feelings” To which he replies. OK.”
Now I happen to think that this advice is far greater than just Ok, because I have sometimes found myself in a position in the past where I later wished I had taken the above advice, because often I had misheard or only half hear, or was even on a totally different subject to them, and so made a complete fool of myself. So I am repeating the above solid words of advice for you to follow, so you don’t unnecessarily do the same too!.
They won’t save you from every situation but they will certainly help you prevent yourself from making a fool of your self unnecessarily, if fully followed. What say you?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The other man’s Grass is always greener.

This is another inspired by the “For Better or For Worse” comic Strip by Lynn Johnston. This one has two women sitting together with their three children, two boys around 4 or 5 and a young toddler girl, playing nearby. One boy turns to the other and says, “ Your Lucky you’ve got a sister.” And just then the other boy’s sister pulls her brother’s hair and grimacing he replies, "You’re lucky you don’t.”
The above yarn reminds me of the old saying my mother taught us about the other man’s grass always being greener, until you cross over to the other side and experience it up close and personal.
So what about you today? Whose Green grass are you admiring now, without realizing that they too might be admiring your own green grass as more preferable than their own? Again I think the lesson here is to check things out very carefully before you personally make any decisions of change. Of course some things, like getting a baby brother or sister, are outside of your control, but where you do have control of changes in your life, don’t just do them on a whim and regret them ever after, if they don’t turn out as expected. No, as far as it is possible for you, research and thoroughly check out all the advantages and possible disadvantages, before making any irrevocable changes to your life, whether personal or in your working environment. Again that is my view! What say you?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Do you really know the Games you Referee?

This is another inspired by the “For Better or For Worse” comic Strip by Lynn Johnston. This one has two women sitting together with their three children, two boys around 4 or 5 and a young toddler girl, playing nearby.
The boys wanted to play by themselves and the mother of one wanted him to play with his sister too. A short exchange between mother and son ensured with the boy winning and not playing with his little sister but his friend. As his mother picked the girl up and put her on her lap, the other women said, “Ely you gave in too easily” to which she replied, but if I force him too neither one will be happy.” To which her friend replied, “ I would have told him he had a obligation as part of the family to play with his sister when he was told to do so!” To which Ely replies, “But Connie, you only have one kid.” To which Connie replies, “So!”
Then Elly's thought bubble reads, “You can’t be a referee if you don’t know the Game!”
What about you? Whether with raising children or with other subjects too. Do you try to advise others when you don’t really know the game fully yourself. When at Bible Collage in community type living with 6 families living wall to wall next door to each other in two and three bedroom units we saw it all. We saw how one family with one who wasn’t even crawling, went from being judgmental of Mothers with children who weren’t as well behaved as hers to later, when she had two running around herself accept, happily, what she previously objected to from the other families. Later I knew another family who found they couldn’t control their kids in the lounge room with its expensive carpet. So much so, that the kids were not allowed in that part of the house until they were much older. By that time they too had given up.
On the other hand we once visited a family with our two oldest when they were about 2 & 5 and we were invited into their lounge room with this lovely white shag carpet, and then sat in horror as our host brought in lamingtons for the kids to eat. Well the thought of chocolate icing and coconut every where in this lovely carpet just about freaked me out but our host was not the least bit frazzled over it as you see she had 5 of her own, although they were then a little older than ours. Later her husband came in and remarked how well our two were and I had thought that they hadn’t been all that Good, but he did.
So you see, having experience and real experience at that, allows you to be a referee or judge of what is or isn’t acceptable under all conditions and not just under ideal conditions.
So in closing, are you a fully qualified referee or still an amateur and in need of more expertise before you set yourself up as a referee for others with more experience? Just something to thing over, Hey?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

USA States & Territories.

Something both factual but also whimsical today. Can any body born outside of the 50 States of the USA be President of the USA? No and Yes! Yes, if you were born in: Northern Marianas Islands; Guam; Puerto Rico; US Virgin Islands; American Samoa; Wake Island (disputed, claimed by Marshall islands); Or Navassa Island (disputed, claimed by Haiti). Anywhere else No!
This is because the USA consists not just of 50 states, but 50 States plus the above seven US territories (colonies). Thus, if you were born in any of the 50 states or the seven US territories, you are a US citizen and eligible to be president. Well that rules me out. But do you know what is frightening about who is eligible to be the US President? That Both Mel Gibson and Nicole Kidman are actually technically eligible to Be President of the US of A? Talk about the Hollywood Dream with a Lethal Weapon!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Kirsty Coventry and Other Varied sources for Names these days.

Ever heard of Kirsty Coventry? No! I hadn’t either until I received an email outlining her influences and long-term effect on Zimbabwe and its people. For your information, Kirsty Coventry is a 23-year-old Zimbabwean swimmer – who pulled off a remarkable gold-3 silver collection in the Beijing Olympics. The only medals for Zimbabwe, and a feat according to the e-mail, that has her 4 medals ahead of South Africa on the medal table (although I’m sure SA won one Silver at least!)
Anyway, the e-mail (received shortly after the Olympic Games finished,) continues with: “When you consider that the majority of Zimbabweans who can swim (and there are few enough to begin with), have already made it across the Limpopo, (River) and are now running informal businesses in downtown Joh’Burg, Coventry's achievement becomes all the more impressive. And Zimbabweans are reacting with appropriate delight. Coventry was given a presidential welcome when she returned home yesterday (red carpet treatment, that is, not tossed into jail), but it's the impact on new-born Zimbabweans that is most delightful.
TV personality Marc Pozzo is the source of an email listing names of children born in Zimbabwean hospitals in the last week or so. Zimbabweans are a creative lot when it comes to naming their children -I remember a baby delivered in a police station in Harare being named
'Charge Office', and one of my closest mates is a Zimbabwean banker named Kingdom - and the swimming heroics of Kirsty Coventry have proved marvelously inspirational.
And so the country is now home to Kirsty Coventry Mapurisa; to Backstroke Banda and Individual Medley Mbofana (honestly, I'm not making these up); to Goldmedal Zulu and Gold 3 Silver Ndlovu. In a similar vein, Butterfly Masocha and Freestyle Zuze have joined Zimbabwe 's
population; and if you're fortunate in years to come to bump into Fourmedal Chinotimba, you'll know exactly where the name comes from. The Games inspire in many ways; Kirsty Coventry has ensured a peerless legacy she surely could never have imagined.”
When I received this e-mail, apart from the good laugh it brought, thought that it seems to be very much an African thing, as we learnt from our time is South Africa, where children were also named after events and things. I met one lady, whose African name now eludes me, but apparently when she was born her father said, “What is that big ugly thing” in Xhosa, and that became her official name. I have known others called ‘Headman’ and ‘Princess’, even ‘Sithathu” (now we are three) obviously their 3rd born son. Another boy, their last one, was called Sikosonke (Now we are all here) and there was even a girl called ‘Liphela’, as she was expected to be “The last one”. Unfortunately for them, they had another! There are lots more I could share, but my favourite was “NoMali”, because after she was born, her father had “no money”.
However, although Africans from my experience seem to do it so well, others do it too, even if to a lesser to Degree. Our very own Melbourne Paper’s idle talk column, lately has been full of people who were born in Melbourne 100years ago and named after people on the Great Fleet from America that arrived here 100 years ago under Captain Sperry. And even now, the women candidate for VP of the USA (Sarah Palin) named her fist son "Track", after High school Athletic Track meetings, her first girl (Willow) after a town in Alaska, and the second (Piper) after the aeroplane she used to fly around Alaska, and the last was named Trig which in fact is Norse for Strength. So it is not unique to any one race, although the Africans do it so well don't they?
Even I was named after Australia’s own Walter Lindrum, (later Sir) who is still regarded as the World’s greatest Billiards player. So what about you though? Who or what were you or some of your Family named after? Over to you for now.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

People as Computers.

People as Computers. 12/9/2008
Took this great illustration off of a Christian Q & A Forum, where someone asked, “How can God have the right to kill millions of people (innocent or not) and sit back while millions die? (Ex. the holocaust, any genocide, and any war).” And Mike H answered: “He doesn't kill them. People do. Think of the people as computers. God made the computer, he did a brilliant job. But then a hacker (Satan) made a virus, although God is much more powerful, the virus can still take down the computer. In order to fix this you need an antivirus and you can only get that by believing in God. Evil comes from Satan, not God.”
Although this is only an illustration and thus shouldn’t be pushed too far, I thought it a great way to state the truth about the injustices in this world, unjustly attributed directly to God, (when it is Mankind’s free will which is the cause of the problem,) to a computer but not religious minded, audience. What say you?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Jerry Lewis & Muscular Dystrophy.

Read in the paper the other day that Jerry Lewis, no not Jerry Lee Lewis, but Jerry Lewis, Comedian, actor, writer, producer and director who turns 83 this Year, has been doing Annual Telethons for the Muscular Dystrophy Association since 1952. Thus in this, his 58th occasion of doing so, has raised over 2 Billion, yes 2 billion dollars for the organization.
Which is very, very commendable but some people wonder why? You see nobody remotely connected to him, that they know of, has suffered from this hereditary muscle wasting disease, and he certainly doesn’t and so people wonder what it was that attracted him to it originally and still does. And Jerry won’t tell! He says, “It is not important why, just that I do.”
I know that it does seem strange to us for someone to be so committed to some cause without any real personal interest other than to do something good for someone that would not be otherwise helped. But I do agree with Jerry’s philosophy that when it comes to doing good deeds for others, “It is not important why, just that I do.”
Now again we may never be able to raise over 2 billion dollars in 580 years let alone 58. We may not even be able to raise more than a few thousand at best, if we are very lucky, but we can all do something if we want to and are prepared to be in it for the long haul, can’t we?
So in closing, what good deed or association can you help in some small way starting today? Not because you have to, but because you can: and because you want to for no other reason than you actually can?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Knowledge of your equipment or else have good Backup or else lots of Money!

Well I am back on line after an absence of some 30 hours due to some technological fault of some Kind in my computer. As I have said many times before, when it comes to computers I am totally technological illiterate as to it’s finer workings and leave that all to my son to fix up for me. This time with some help from his friends and the service provider’s technical service team, he got me back on line. As he works and lives elsewhere, I had to wait for him to find the time between his job and other committeemen’s, hence the longish delay. Of course I could have got someone from the Computer shop to come and check it out but at a cost of close to $100 dollars. Again, hence the delay as I waited for my son, who actually went out of way two nights in a row to make the time to come around and address the problem. The first time obviously without success. So again I am very, very grateful to he and his mates freely given help and assistance in my time of need.
Yes if like me, you don’t have great knowledge of your equipment, nor lots of money, it really pays to have a good support team to call on doesn’t it? And I really appreciate mine! But what about you? Do you really appreciate your backup team and tell them so? Or do you just take them for granted; Call on them when needed; and expect them to come running; and then ignore them the rest of the time?
Well today’s message is just a word of encouragement to you to be appreciative of your support or backup teams and to let them know personally that you appreciate them, as well as their help. So in closing, Thanks again Son. I not only appreciate you but love you too! Dad.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Who Are You Really Advocating This For?

This is another inspired by the “For Better or For Worse” comic Strip by Lynn Johnston. This one has their 3 or 4 yr old boy still wanting a dog and mum still saying no, so dad goes into bat for the dog, saying, “What’s wrong with getting the kids a dog, Elly?” To be told, “They’re not responsible enough.” To which he replies, ‘ But they’d learn! …. A dog would provide entertainment and exercise… They’re loving and smart and …” Only to be told, “JOHN, we are not getting a dog for the Kids!!!” To which he plaintively replies, “But what about me?!!!!” Making it very clear it wasn’t the kids he was really thinking of, but of himself.
Very funny in a comic, but not so funny in real life sometimes is it, when people say and do things on your behalf, when in fact they are only interested in their own returns, and often you end up the bunny of their so-called intercessions on your behalf, don’t you?
How often have you heard someone say, “Well I only did it for them, because that is what THEY wanted, to have yourself or the other someone, say, but that is not what I really wanted at all, but had pushed on me by them?”
So when you go into bat on someone else’s behalf, (which by the way, if done properly and for the right reasons, is a good thing! A real good thing in fact!) do it for the right reasons and not for your own benefits and motives. Yes when you are tempted to advocate for someone make sure it is they and only they that you are advocating for, with no ulterior motives of your own. Or at least make them quite clear from the outset, so that there are no doubts as to what your intention is. Again that is my view! What say you?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Stirring Things Up Unnaturally.

This is another inspired by the “For Better or For Worse” comic Strip by Lynn Johnston. This one has two little boys looking at one of the boy’s new pet. A gold fish in a small bowl. Unfortunately for the little boys, it wasn’t exciting enough for them, so they decided to stir things up, literally and went and found a wooden spoon to do the trick. Fortunately for the Goldfish (Fred), Mum Came along and stopped them and told them that that really wasn’t a good idea. And they were just to watch “Fred” as “he likes to swim around his bowl, looking for food, enjoying the view… “ To which the boy says, “I know”. And adds to himself, “I just want him to do it faster!!!”
Ever found yourself in the same position? You want to speed things up and stir things along? Maybe even using the right equipment, like the wooden spoon, but for a completely wrong and inappropriate and even life threatening purpose?
Most of us find things too slow sometimes don’t we? Thus the temptation is always there to try and stir things up and speed life along, just a little bit, isn’t it? Sometimes that can be done and even be beneficial too. But often, like in the above illustration, all it will achieve, at the very best, would be stress, like for Fred here, and possibly even death for him too. So I would like us all to think through very carefully all the probable implications the next time we desire to try and stir things along, as to whether it really is appropriate and beneficial to all concerned and not just something to appease our own impatience, often with injurious consequences for the other party or parties? That’s my thoughts, what’s yours?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Doing The Whole Job And Not Just Going Halfway!

I would like you to read this blog very careful before you decide what it is I actually am advocating. Because, on first impressions you might get the wrong idea and intention.
Not that many long years ago, (and even now in some remote parts or areas of India it is suspected) it was common practise to burn the dead husbands on a funeral pyre, and along with the dead husband, they also used to burn the live wife too. A horrible practise I’m sure most would agree, and one thing at least, that early Missionaries were appreciated for trying to eradicate completely.
However these days, another horrible practise has arisen there, and that still involves rejecting the widow. According to Marvin Williams, in His “Our Daily Bread” article for September 10th 2008, ‘CNN recently reported that there are approximately 40 Million widows in India. Fifteen thousand of them live on the streets of the Northern city of Vrindavan. Unfortunately, many of their families do not hear their cries. A 70-year-old widow says,” My son tells me: 'You have grown old. Now who is going to feed you? Go away’”.
So the practise of burning widows was condemned and stopped, but no satisfactorily long term change in attitude to the widows were implemented, not a long term and effective program to care for these widows. And therein lies the problem of stopping an evil practise without actually changing the mind set behind the people involved in that practise. Without that resulting change of mind set, their original way to “Care “ for the widows, was barbaric indeed, but was it really any less barbaric than casting them out into the streets?
Again I wish to make it quite clear that I am not advocating burning widows with their dead husbands, nor actually anything to do with widows in India or anywhere else for that matter! No! But I am urging you, that when you get involved with trying to stop barbaric and inhumane practices etc, (which I again would strongly urge you to do), that you do the job thoroughly and not just content yourself with saving someone from burning, only to slowly starve to death or worse on the streets either. Likewise I am not saying, not to get involved with these projects either, but to do these things fully and not leave them in a similar or even worse situation.
I know a person in America who is greatly concerned about stray cats and supports the efforts of various organizations involved with this work to find them homes. As part of that, she adopted two herself. Thus adding a practical measure to her verbal and financial support. Maybe you can do something similar too?
Maybe not to actually adopt a couple of Indian widows, or even a couple of Local “Street people” into your family, but maybe you can help support organizations that do this work. And if there is one operating near you, you can even actively participate in their work there.
I will leave what you do to you, but again urge you in closing, to think fully through what the results of your actions will be in any and every worthwhile program around, and then be prepared to see that job through to the end before you really get involved. Will you do that please? Thanks!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Happy Father’s Day.

Whilst I don’t know about Canada or America and while I do know that it is a bit late for the UK and South Africa, I can at least wish all my fellow Aussie Dad’s, a very Happy Father’s Day today.
It is a bit funny to me that Mother’s day is on the same day all over the world that observes it, but Father’s Day is on a different Day in many countries. I know of at least three different dates from personal experience, as one year, (1995) when we were on our way back to South Africa from a brief 6 month sojourn back in the land of my Birth (Oz) and went back to SA via the UK; spending just under two weeks in England and the lowlands of Scotland in early June of that year, where Father’s day was being honoured during our stay there.
Then, within a fortnight of returning to South Africa, we again observed Father’s Day there too. Then in the following September, I received Father’s day Greetings etc from our First born back in Australia, So even though I only received my presents once, I did get to celebrate Father’s Day three times in the one year. Quite unique!
But I guess the main thing though, is that we should remember not only our fathers but also all our loved ones, when we get the opportunity and not just on any special day either. You become more aware of this after your loved ones have passed on too. So if your loved ones are still with you, even if not close to you in distance, make this a special day for them whether they are father, mother, or other, and whether this is father’s day or not where you are now.
Have a great Day wherever you are and whatever day it really is: Walter.
EDIT: From my South African Friend living in the UK: "Just to update you Mother's day is celebrated in March in the UK. So hence I have 2 Mother's day's!!"

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Stirring Things Up Unnaturally.

This is another inspired by the “For Better or For Worse” comic Strip by Lynn Johnston. This one has two little boys looking at one of the boy’s new pet. A gold fish in a small bowl. Unfortunately for the little boys, it wasn’t exciting enough for them, so they decided to stir things up, literally and went and found a wooden spoon to do the trick. Fortunately for the Goldfish (Fred), Mum Came along and stopped them and told them that that really wasn’t a good idea. And they were just to watch “Fred” as “he likes to swim around his bowl, looking for food, enjoying the view… “ To which the boy says, “ I know”. And adds to himself, “I just want him to do it faster!!!”
Ever found yourself in the same position? You want to speed things up and stir things along. Maybe even using the right equipment, like the wooden spoon, but for a completely wrong and inappropriate and even life threatening purpose?
Most of us find things too slow sometimes don’t we? Thus the temptation is always there to try and stir things up and speed life along, just a little bit, isn’t it? Sometimes that can be done and even be beneficial too. But often, like in the above illustration, all it will achieve, at the very best would be stress, like for Fred here, and possibly even death for him too. So I would like us all to think very carefully the next time we desire to try and stir things along, whether it really is appropriate and beneficial to all concerned and not just something to appease our own impatience, often with injurious consequences for the other party or parties? That’s my thoughts, what’s yours?

Friday, September 5, 2008

Do We Really Have No Choice In Life?

To my comment to a friend about us both being optimistic, even if they were cautiously optimistic, they wrote back, “I have no choice for now”.
To which I wrote, “Rubbish. We all have choices, even if that choice is to do nothing for now! (Which is sometimes wise but usually not!!!!!!)
What say you? We can and must make choices every day. Some choices are not so nice and even sometimes, simply a choice between the lesser of two evils, (as my mother used to say!) But always, there is a choice and that choice that we make, always reflects back on us later, for good or bad, depending on our original choice.
Well I will stop my preaching there, but I do urge you to consider your everyday choices wisely and to consciously make a decision one way or the other, and direct your life in a positive direction. For if you do nothing all the time, that is what you will end up with! Nothing!!!!
Well! Nothing good anyway! So do take care and always choose your choices carefully and wisely even if cautiously.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

How Self-Entertained Are You?

Recently come across somewhere, a Chinese proverb that says, “Blessed are they that laugh at themselves for they shall never cease to be entertained.”
Well I must be very well entertained lately, as lately that seems to be all that I seem to be doing! Laughing at myself, that is! But only where appropriate! There are some things that should never be laughed at, but on the other hand, where we have, whether intentionally or unintentionally, made a goose of ourselves, then we shouldn’t take it to heart and brood over it, but laugh about it and move on. At least that is my motto in life.
What about you? Can you laugh at yourself too, where appropriate? Or do you get uptight at even the very thought that someone might laugh at you? Do you need to lighten up a little and take yourself and life a little less seriously? Now I am not talking of going to the extreme of the other way and treat everything as a Joke, but when things happen that you can no longer control, can you see the same funny side, like the others also looking on?
Again I am not saying make a fool of yourself to entertain others, but where things do go wrong and there is a funny side to it, do join in the laughter, even if it is all at your expense! Laugh then, and then resolve not to make the same mistake again and move on. Yes learn the lesson or lessons from it, but then file it away and leave it there. Forget it and move on laughing not moodily. Again that’s my point of view! What’s yours?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Xenophilia and xenophilic

Recently my Canadian friend introduced me to two words that he was led to believe are new words (but are not) and they are of course Xenophilia and xenophilic.
He told me that, “A couple of weeks ago in our church someone was talking about these sorts of issues and he coined a phrase which I hope catches on: xenophilia. He said that God is "xenophilic:" literally a lover of the stranger or the outsider. I think Christ called us to be xenophilic as well. Think of Matthew 25:35 "I was a stranger and you welcomed me." The question shouldn't be how grateful the stranger is, the question should be how welcoming we are.”
Being attracted to the implied meanings of the words, I looked them up on an on-line Dictionary and found that they were not completely new, as they have been around for nearly half a century. However they are not well known and I would like to try and do my bit in changing that fact, starting with this blog.
Now Xenophilia (The noun) and xenophilia (an adverb) are the complete opposites in meaning to xenophobia. Now I am sure that, although I hope you are not one, nor necessarily overly familiar with the word, that you have at least heard of that word Xenophobia and its meaning, at some time or another.
Although xenophilia and xenophilic have only been around since around 1955-1960, xenophobia has been around, as a recorded word since at least 1900-1905, (according to the dictionary) and much, much longer in attitude!
Xenophobia is “an unreasonable fear or hatred of Foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange. ”On the other hand and opposite extreme, xenophilia is “an attraction to foreign peoples, cultures or customs.”
Although I had heard of Xenophobia before and knew I wasn’t one of them, I had never heard of Xenophilia before and so when I did, I had to ask myself, “Am I one of them?” And I guess the answer is, “Not completely, no!”
No, because I don’t really have “an attraction to foreign peoples, cultures or customs.” I don’t mind meeting new people and trying new things and customs, but I can’t say I am a lover of them or that I have a particular attraction for them either. But then I am not afraid of, nor hate them per se` either. So while I am definitely not a xenophobe or xenophobic in anyway, I am not quite a xenophile either, although I very happily fit very close and comfortable with them, and especially as opposed to those who are genuinely xenophobic.
What about you? Are you prepared to ask yourself openly and honestly which you are closest to in your everyday reactions and actions with the strangers you happen to meet in your every day business or busyness? Or are you already happy enough to if not outright embrace everything new, at least test them and see, or as they say “Try before you buy or reject”? Will you also like me try and spread the good news about the word ”xenophilia” and try and influence others behaviours by your own xenophilic behaviour? Again just a little for you to think on. Please?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Are You Asking Yourself Too Many Times Too, Like Leigh Matthews?

Heard on the TV yesterday that Leigh Matthews, the Coach of the Brisbane Lions AFL team had quit after 10 years at the helm there, even though he had one more year left on his contract had he wanted it. Although during his time there, they won three premierships in a row, this year they finished 10th,out of 16 teams. (One spot below my Tigers!) Although some might try and make a case that he walked before He was pushed, he has gone out on his own terms, as he had indicated a little while back that he might, if he felt the time was right.
He also said he had not made a final decision until their last game for the season (which they lost) when he found that not only was he asking himself “was this the time to walk away?” But that he had been asking that question of himself a lot lately and that that was in fact a sign that it was indeed time for him to walk away and let someone else take on the task, as he had given his all and now it was time for someone new to have a go. While his decision has shocked many, I believe it was a wise one and like he also said later on the News, that even if he was wrong to go now, that he “would rather walk away one season too early, than to stay one season too Long.”
What about you and I here? Do we perhaps need to have a look at our own performances and jobs too? Maybe we too have been asking that question and maybe the answer is that we have given all that we have to offer, and now is time to walk away too like Leigh.
It my case I believe I still have at least one more year in me here, but what about you there? Have you found yourself asking that question too many times lately and now is the time to at least consider your options, before continuing on for one more year? Over to you for some thought and reflection now.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Do You Try to Change negative people?

Following is a comment in reply to my blog, “Two Canadian Perspectives: What’s yours?”
“Wow, that was really good and both sides of the argument were really well spelt out. We are certainly going through the same things here but as stated in the articles, 'most of these immigrants or refugees are good people' and by extending the hand of friendship to them we make them feel welcome and they respond accordingly. As you realise I am involved quite extensively with people from another country and find that they are just like everybody else, they respond to friendliness. There are of course the other type mentioned and I agree that if they wish to stay here in this great land of ours, they must obey our laws and live in harmony with people who have lived here all of their lives. We should also try to change these negative people in order to bring them into the fold so to speak and not just cast them aside because they are finding it difficult to assimilate. My next-door neighbour is from Cambodia and the parents speak no English but they are always friendly and wave to us and smile whenever they see us. The son-in-law speaks good English and he comes to me when he has problems and he tells me that I am now his father because his own father was killed during the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia. These people are good people and because we extended the hand of friendship they responded in a like fashion so it makes sense to me to treat them as people and not some sort of animal. However I'm not saying we should tolerate the type who just want to force their values and laws on us here. Let's try to change them if we can, but if we cannot, then they should be sent somewhere else. My views, ****
I think the above a great response; so I will only comment on the emboldened and underlined section, that I so did, above.
Yes, we all should at least try to change these negative people in order to bring them into the fold so to speak and not just cast them aside because they are finding it difficult to assimilate! But do we even try to do that? Or do we put them in the too hard basket and leave it for others to do? It is true that there are others, like my Canadian friend in my original post and my Aussie friend above, to name a couple, doing this, but there is still more help that even you and I can do, even if only in an unofficial capacity too!
I mean, how hard really is it for each of us, to even just smile and say hello to all strangers that we come into regular contact with? Sure some of them may think you are weird and/or trying to hit on them, so yes some wisdom and sensitivity is required, but still it isn’t really at any real hardship on your part is it? Nor at any real cost or effort from us to do even that little a thing, is there?
So what are you currently doing to assist the strangers among you? Are you not even prepared to even give them a smile, a cheery hello, or even a friendly wave? As my friend above says, even such small gestures as that, can and often do, make a major difference to many people who are not only strangers to you, but often to your way of life and doing things. I vividly remember the struggles of finding out how everything worked in a strange land in our first few weeks there! And that was 18 years ago now, and in a country whose laws and ways of life, were not that dissimilar to ours, once we got to know what was what and where everything was. I also vividly remember the help and support given us by most of our African neighbours, and the warm way we were greeted, even if some, as the later petrol bombings indicated, thought else wise. But even then, because of the friendly help and support of our local neighbours, we felt safer staying there, than moving elsewhere into an enclave of our own skin colouring.
So, from our own personal experience, I know it works from both sides so please do offer your friendship, even if only with a smile or friendly greeting, to all you meet. Yes there will always be the few to reject even that, but let them be the ones to reject you and not you them. And even then, don’t take this rejection to heart and reject others, simply because one or two have responded negatively, or done the wrong thing, to either you or your country. Again, even if you are unable to do anything on an official level to change negative attitudes in others, you can make some, and often some major change, in some people, by little more than being friendly and warm towards those you regularly come into contact with.
So what about it? Will you try smiling and saying hello, just a little bit more, starting even today? Over to you now. You know what to do, so I will leave it with you now to implement.