Posted in Poetry and Prose

I sleep I tread

I sleep on the floor
I sleep on a stretcher
I sleep on a foam mattress
I sleep on the grass
I sleep on the sofa
I sleep on my own bed
I like sleep
I sleep
I

I
I tread
I tread on various grounds
I wear different shoes
If those shoes could speak
What would them Vans and Converse and Toms speak about it?
The time they stood on snow
The time they walked for miles
The time they ran 18km in Germany, unplanned
Oh the lands they have stood upon
The ground beneath my feet
I tread
I stand
I walk
I

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Posted in Poetry and Prose

11pm

This city just doesn’t seem to sleep
Onboard a train heading home
The heat of the day hovers in the carriage
The hoards of people sit there too

Where are they all going?
What has their day / evening been filled with?

Some sit bothered by the heat.
Others chant as their boozed confidence and the heat allows them to take off their shirts.

Some have just finished work?
Some are saying goodbye to a loved one?
Some have been partying?
Some have been on a date?
Some have gone to just get out.
To feel connected.

This big city.
London.
Can swallow you up or invite you in.

How do you choose?

Posted in Inspirational & Observations from Life, Wonder and Beauty

Notice the patterns…

Yesterday’s Our Daily Bread reading was entitled “Living in colour.”

Was about a person who was colourblind – being able to see colour…
(Go read it for yourself.)

Often, I like to ask God, how that daily reading, can be applied in my life for that day.

Then later yesterday, my mom and I visited Waddesdon Manor:

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And I was super appreciative that I could see all the colour. It was incredible! 🙂

Notice the patterns, in your life. Signs of God 🙂

Posted in Faith & Church, Inspirational & Observations from Life

The Jesus in-between

The scriptures are essential!
We learn so much about God and Jesus through those written words.

BUT,
What about the unwritten words?
What about the Jesus in-between?

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I was thinking about that morning when Jesus had fish for breakfast with the disciples. (John 21: 1 – 14)

What did they talk about?
What did He say to them?

All those undocumented words…!

I keep thinking of the Jesus in between the stories and miracles and healing we have written down:

When the disciples walked from village to village with Jesus, what did He say to them?
He surely drew alongside them individually – and had some incredible conversations with them?

A lot of people will say, it’s not necessary to know…
(and well, simply, it’s pretty much impossible to know what was said.)

But I disagree that what was said, was not important or not necessary!

Yes, the Word as it is – is enough!

But, what if we asked Jesus to be involved in our in-between?

Because, surely, all those conversations, all the observations of Jesus (made by the disciples) during those three years – added to the fervour… they all had… in starting the church, starting movement… that carries on, till now. 2019.

It’s the documented stuff.
But it’s all the undocumented stuff… they radically changed the lives of those disciples. Without a doubt!

So we have lots of in-between moments.
The moments in-between bible readings.
The moments in-between times of worship.
The moments in-between your home and work.
Your undocumented moments.
Your non-posted moments.

Those are what also make up your LIFE with Him.
What is He saying to you there too?
Pay attention to that.

Walk with Him.
Drive with Him.
Have meals with Him.

Posted in Travel & Explore

How time stood still in île maurice

Day 0 and 1 – 12 June / 13 June
This could be seen as a bit of random diary. I just wanted to capture memories of this amazing trip somewhere. With some musings included. (Feel free to read my “holiday journal” or just carry on as you were… ;))

I love flying. I love travelling. Seeing new places. I thoroughly enjoyed the flight to Mauritius via Dubai. I find it absolutely fascinating how “everyday, someone is travelling somewhere.”

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I realised again how insignificant we all are. How small you and I are.
And that’s not meant to make you feel emo. I love it! When we realised we are a very small fish in a very large ocean, we learn to live in wonder and humility.
The world does not revolve around you! Yes!

So landing in Mauritius after about 15 hours of flying, and adding and subtracting hours going through time zones I landed with such joy.
I was seeing my family.

Warren, Chane’ and Emily and Seth were on their way… their flight landed an hour after mine. So I just chilled in the airport arrival foyer for them. I remember just thanking God for this amazing opportunity.

So after a warm greeting my bro and I sorted out our care hire:

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(First bro selfie since January)

Our little home for the week in Flic and Flac was so homey and wonderful:

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Day 2 – 14 June
The first full day involved us exploring our new hood: Flic en Flac
The day was filled with various things.
Walking along the beach, swimming in the glorious sea, seeing the pretty fish in the shallow waters, eating curry chicken farata (yum!) Gin cocktails as the sun bid the day farewell…breathtaking! And most importantly playing with the kids, chatting at a 100 miles an hour with my brother.
Perfect!

Day 3 – 15 June
Walking up Le Morne
Reggae Band

Friday, we decided to take on one of the local mountains with Emily and Seth. Well done to them both. Their small strides made it to the top. Well almost.
Being up there, seeing an almost 360 view from there was breathtaking.
I felt so giddy. (I have a thing for heights. Love the views and the sense of open space up there!) Thanking God, there I was, actually in Mauritius.

After walking in pretty hot conditions we needed some more ocean time.
We headed to the nearby beach. My favourite memory of that afternoon was Emily and I swimming together, with our goggles looking at the little fish together. We saw a flat fish, a pencil fish, a clown fish and a zebra fish and some others too. It was wonderful!
Because we were on the west side of the island, we were treated to a glorious sunset everyday…
That Friday, we ended our day at Tamarin Bay.

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That evening once the kids and Chane’ were in bed – my bro and I headed to a reggae party. That was awesome! Some local reggae band jamming some laid back tunes.
Was super stoked with the quality time I had with my bro on this trip.
And going to that local hang out was good, because it was not a typical touristy thing to do. So we were emerged in with the locals. Drinking the local brew: Phoenix.

Day 4 – 16 June
The catamaran tour

This was my favourite day! So amazing being on board the catamaran!
Seeing the Island as we sailed by. Good food and drink. Amazing weather! Snorkelling! Picking up shells on Isle de Cerf.

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What I liked a lot about being in Mauritius was how time seemed to stand still.
I had 5 days there. But it felt so much longer! So thankful for that!

Day 5 – 17 June
Like the locals, we too caught a bus.

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To Tamarin Bay for the day.
A highlight of this day (it was my bro’s birthday) was seeing him surfing with both his kids on the long board we hired. Both Seth and Emily, felt braved that day to surf with their dad. 🙂
Was so special to see.

Day 6 – 18 June (Leaving the Island)
Trip to the capital: Port Louis
Seeing Grandpere’s grave

This was probably the most “touristy” day for us. (Although I supposed my tourists would also do the catamaran trip too.)
Okay, put it this way… that last day (for me) in Mauritius was the most concrete. We visited the capital for the day! Port Louis.
The waterfront was impressive! (reminded me a little of Cape Town Waterfront)

My time on the island was brief but good. It was sad to say goodbye to my awesome family:

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But then… off to Durban to see my mom and some other cool friends too 🙂
And to sleep in a tree house… for my birthday

A few days in Durban

Highlights of the Durban part:

Seeing people: Tyler, Nikki, Shane and Claire, and Tamar.
(Life is always about the people in it)
Riding the Durban Promenade
Early morning run and coffee with Shane, all before the sun awoke…
Sleeping in a Tree-house

Here are the picture highlights:

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The Durban part of my holiday was short. But at least, I got to fly back home (England now feels like home) with my mom, coming to visit:

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(After reading through this – I see the words are rather basic. 🙂 I guess this wasn’t intended on being a creative piece. But rather a recorded memory.)

Going through the photo memories has definitely been a treat! So thankful that we can capture experiences and memories that way!

Posted in People

What you “see” is not what you get…

I probably just overthink and overreact at times 😉
So this is where this post comes from.
(Besides only my email followers will read this one…)

My mom has been visiting me in the UK. Really cool to have her around and show her the sites.
One of her favourite things is to sit at a pub and have a drink and just chat and enjoy the surroundings. People and life going by. And perhaps music playing in the background accompanied with the chatter of other patrons.

Now, we have shared a few photos of her and I at various local pubs having a drink.

An person from my church made a comment: “I am worried that you are visiting too many pubs.”

Now, I don’t know the person very well, and vice versa…

But what tone does one put on a comment like that?

A whole other post about the world of social media… could come from comments and tones


Anyway, it got me thinking about how one can see so many things from one photo…
But perhaps see the wrong things and assume the wrong things…

As the old adage goes…
When one “assumes” they make an “ass out of u and me”
(Thanks Dad for that one!)

When one sees a picture of my mom and I with a beer and “yet another pub” one cannot assume:

We have a problem 😉

What I see when, I see those pictures I see:

Quality time between family.
The good conversation between them.

Not ALL of people’s lives are seen online.
One doesn’t see the moments of fitness
The moments of quiet
The moments of kindness
The moments of whatever else…

You just CANNOT judge a “book by its cover” in some regards…

And by the way, this is the coolest trivia to know.

The word pub comes from “public house” which comes from the olden days where people would meet in a house that was opened for people to gather.

The pub culture in the UK is very different. People would meet in pubs for social reasons. Some pubs even have board games for friends to play.
How cool is that!

Anyway, lesson over!

Posted in Inspirational & Observations from Life

The faith we have…

Yesterday, before the plane took off, I was reading my book and I noticed how nonchalantly I and others onboard paid attention to the flight security film that they screen before every flight.

We’ve seen that thing a million times…

We actually have a lot of faith!

We trust that the pilot and his crew will get us to our destination.

This massive piece of metal with wings that stays in the air for sometimes 8 or 9 hours, even more…

We’re all so casual about it!

Back in the day, I remember after we landed, all the passengers would applaud the pilot.

Out of appreciation. It’s no small feat to fly a plane. Kudos to all pilots. We appreciate the invention of flight. I’m still marvelled by the wonder of it!

Hmm, does anyone else think these things? 🤦‍♂️

Posted in short story

Grandpere’s words

Grandpere’s words (A short story)
Word Count: 2011

Lauren sat there before the day awoke. She held the cup of coffee close to her cheek. The warmth was comforting. It was those little moments that added to her life. It was her mom who taught her to appreciate the small things in life. They were the little pieces of a glorius jigsaw puzzle!

But on that morning, her spirit was disturbed. It was her son, Jack. He had lost his joy.
She was losing grip of her son. She didn’t know how to reach him. He was in a slum. She wanted to get him out.

And Jack himself; he too was losing grip of his own life. He spent hours in his room. Only coming down for meals. He would eat in silence or with only one-worded answers:

“How was school day?” she would ask.

“Fine”

“Are you enjoying the omelette? Ham and cheese is your favourite.”

“Yes”

Then they would fall back into silence. She hated seeing her son like this. He never went outside anymore. His screen time was escalating! She sat there trying to imagine his world. At 15, he had the weight of the world on his shoulders. But was all that weight necessary?

Jack would hover from one profile to another on Instagram – seeing “how amazing” people’s lives where. He was comparing his life. He wondered why selfies of him would not get as many likes as his classmates. What’s wrong with me?
The social pressure of being popular was swallowing him whole. He was drowning.

They key rattled in the lock. They could hear the door swing open. He was home.
Paul came into the kitchen. He was full of life. He was beaming! (Even after six hours of travel.)

“They accepted my proposal,” he announced.

“That’s wonderful, honey!” Lauren replied, half-heartedly. Jack just stared at his plate.

Paul could feel the despondency of the room. But he refused to succumb to it. And with that look from Lauren; he knew what had to be done.

“Right! In an hour, we’re heading off to see Grandpere. Road trip! Each of you, go pack your bags!” He declared.

Jack looked up. “It’s Thursday, what about school?”

“I’m sure you won’t mind missing two days,” Paul replied, winking at his son. “Now, go pack.”

Lauren smiled at her husband. He was full of good ideas. What is his plan this time?
As if he could read her thoughts, he told her how he believed a trip to the countryside would help. And that his dad would know what to do with their son.

She got up and hugged Paul. “You must be exhausted!”
“I am; but this is important.” He smiled at her, then dialled his dad’s number:

“Comment allez-vous?” he asked.

“Bien merci,” his dad replied.

He went on to explain the purpose of their visit. Jack’s Grandpere (grandfather in French) was excited to see them. It had been six weeks since their previous visit.

Bags packed. Buckled in. They were ready to head off. Paul prayed for travelling mercies.
Lauren squeezed his hand. They were desperate for a miracle. Jack held his phone.

That thing he held onto so tightly would be the death of him; if he didn’t let it go, soon…

After an hour of driving, Paul had an idea.

He would pull over at the next picnic stop. (He had done that route once or twice before, so had an idea of what the next stop would be like.)

As he turned off, he could see the enquiring look from Lauren.

“Let’s take a family photo.” He suggested. “Please can we use your phone for that?” Paul asked Jack.

What is Paul up to? He’s encouraging our son to use his phone.

“Where are we, anyway?” Jack asked, trying to add some nonchalance to his question.

Paul smiled at his son. He was glad that he had noticed the change of route.

“Good observation! We’re not going to Grandpere’s!”

Jack and his mom looked at Paul quizzically and before their questions came out, he continued: “We are seeing Grandpere. But he and I decided on another venue for the weekend. We’re going to Fantasy Lodge.”

“Where’s that?” Jack’s mom asked.

“Wait and see! Now, let’s do this photo.”

They had pulled over at one of those ‘half-moon’ concrete slabbed stops. There was a knee-high wall that wrapped the circumference of that open space. The wall was one of those – made of concrete and medium sized rocks. Over to left, where two concrete picnic tables, and on the right, there was another one.

That stop was intentional. (Although Paul didn’t realise it at the time, either.)

As Paul and Lauren stood ready for the photo, he noticed how his son sprung up on the wall and peered into the gorge.

He was drinking in the view as if were a full glass of fresh orange juice!

To the right of where they had stopped the gorge went upwards, filled in by lush green trees. A forest so thick that the sunshine battled to break through.

To the left, the gorge opened with a river running down into the open landscape below.

Across the gorge on the east side, there was a bush, half way up covered in ruby red foliage.

There was an inviting silence that seemed to hover over that gorge. And yet, one could hear the water running through it. A non-disturbing noise.

“Ready? Cheese?” Jack asked as he positioned himself just in front of his parents.

After three or four silly photos, Jack considered the valley one last time.

“Okay, all aboard,” Paul asked as he headed back towards the car. “We have about an hour left.”

After driving up some old mountain passes and across vast fields, the mood in the vehicle seemed lighter.
Grandpere was sitting on the porch when they arrived. He was engrossed in a novel.

“You’ve made yourself at home, I see.”

“This is not the place,” he winked, “this is the reception.” Paul greeted his dad the customary French way. A kiss on each cheek.

Grandpere instructed them to park the vehicle to the right of the building, take their things and jump in the bakkie that he had park on the left. (It was one of those old school Ford Cortina bakkies with 4×4 wheels.)

“We’re going about two kilometres down the road.”

All three of them did as they were instructed.

“Hello Jack, good to see you. Cava?”

Jack didn’t look up. “Fine, thanks.” (Lauren smiled. A two worded answer this time.)

“Come greet me properly, please.” After the two kisses, Grandpere pulled in Jack and gave him a bear hug.

“Aagh! Grandpere.”

Grandpere just chuckled and playfully punched his grandson on the shoulder as guys do.

Two kilometres down the dirt road they had arrived.

With his arms raised up as if he were making a loud declaration, Grandpere beaming spoke: “Welcome to Fantasy Lodge. You’re going to have fantasy…. fantastic… fantasy lodge… see what I did there, time?”

They all smiled. His enthusiasm was contagious and inviting! And totally understood… when they saw where they were staying…

“Wow, that is amazing!!” It was Jack who spoke first.

Standing before them, was a three-storey tree house, on stilts. Behind it was a sea of trees. They had arrived at a massive lush forest. For as far as the eye could see they were surrounded by these welcoming green giants, with the occasional tree house sprouting up between them.

“There are ten tree houses, altogether.” Paul spoke, “I read that on their site.”

“Shot gun the top floor.” Jack exclaimed.
He even helped with his mom and Grandpere’s bags.

Lauren smiled at this obvious change in her son.
The treehouse as fully kitted. It was magical! From bedrooms on each floor to a living room, to a jacuzzi, to a viewing deck on the roof of the structure. All the furniture and décor made with wood.

That afternoon, Grandpere took them for a looped walk around the forest. He was acting like a big kid. And one couldn’t help but follow his lead…

At one point, Grandpere, with the help of Lauren insisted that his son and Jack needed to be covered in leaves. That afternoon they hugged trees. They threw pine cones.
It was like they were living in a fantasy. But it was all so real. And all so wonderful!

Near their treehouse, Grandpere pointed to a spot. Four trees had made a natural square. Each tree stood on the corner as if they were the posts of a boxing ring.
Grandpere got them each sitting at the base of the tree, back against it, legs stretched out before them. Then he pulled out those 340ml glass Coke bottles.

They just sat there drinking. No words exchanged. Just them soaking in the moment. Paul could see contentment in his son’s demeanour.

That night, Lauren sat snug in bed reading her book. The gents were at the fireplace.

“Jack, grab your sleeping bag and a pillow. We’re going right to the top.” Grandpere invited.

Jack beamed back. “Cool!”

They climbed the little stairwell next to Jack’s room on the top floor. From there up a ladder to the rooftop of the treehouse.

Paul knew his dad and son needed that time together. And he wasn’t tired yet, so he continued stoking the fire and watching the flames whilst sipping on some Merlot.

Grandpere and Jack climbed through a trapdoor onto the roof above. The cool air of the autumn night greeted them. It was a little chilly. Then Jack looked up and gasped!

The sky was filled with thousands and thousands of stars. No city lights to taint the natural night time sky. A black canvas with pin pricks in it – and golden yellow light piercing through.

They climbed into their sleeping bags and just lay there. Grandpere and Jack side by side. In silence for about half an hour, they watched the stars. The stars obliged and sent three or four shooting stars overhead. In the corner of his eye, Grandpere could see his grandson smiling.

“He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.” Grandpere quoted a Psalm from the ancient scriptures.

Jack thought about that. Seeing all these shimmering and shooting stars, one couldn’t help but respond in awe and gratitude! Such magical beauty deserved that to say the least!

After another half hour of silence, his Grandpere spoke again: “In a world full of stories, you can only live out yours.”

Jack felt something inside of him. Like his heart was jumping up and down in agreement with that statement. “yes, yes!” it seemed to whisper.

Grandpere then sat up, squeezed his grandson’s hand. Smiled at Jack. Jack returned with a smile. Then Grandpere got up and headed back towards the trapdoor.

As he placed his feet on the first rung of the ladder, he looked across to Jack lying there:

“No one is better than you.”

And then Grandpere disappeared through the trapdoor. Jack left alone up there with those six words and the stars and a change of heart. There was nothing arrogant about that statement. The words just seemed to gently fall into Jack’s spirit.

He felt happy! He felt alive! And somehow, he knew those were not just fleeting feelings.

Jack wrestled with his thoughts. (A long drive, grandpere’s words and the sermons of nature.)
He knew he had to spend less time on his phone. It was killing him. And just a waste of time. He knew too that comparison was the thief of joy.
And out there on the roof top, he heard the unspoken invite of the stars above…

“Go live! There is a lot more to explore.”

Jack felt blissful! The stars shimmered with excitement. Jack’s eyes grew heavy as the tiredness from the long day finally caught up with him. Jack fell asleep.

In about four hours, a new day would dawn. And a new boy would arise.

Posted in Inspirational & Observations from Life

The Purpose of Activities

Recently, I have had the joy of doing various activities with the youth at my church.
But what is the point to all of the activities? I do hope it’s not just about “baby sitting” –
So this is why I believe in and plan the different activities, in no particular order:

Less screen time.
Firstly, to get young people away from their gaming consoles! The amount of hours people spend online is definitely unhealthy! Life is beyond those screens too.

Explore.
To create a spirit of exploration. One learns a lot when they look at life through the eyes of exploration.
Plus, there are just great things everywhere to check out and learn and enjoy!

Experience.
Same as above really; Some young people have not had certain experiences before. Perhaps, the opportunity has not come their way. In planning the activities, I hope that they get some new experiences and gain from them too.
(See the image at the bottom of this post.)

Fun.
Need I say more?
Earlier this year, I took some of our youth for a walk in the woods. One of the boys started climbing a tree, and the other was dragging this massive branch around.
It was just so good to see boys being boys! Young people playing!
(We force kids to grow up too quickly, these days!)

Joy in the journey.
There is joy and learning in each journey.
I remember some great conversations and fun I have had on many a road trip.
(Especially with the students I worked with at Pneumatix, in 2017 and 2018.)
Classic case of Lord of the Rings. It’s not entirely about the end (getting rid of the ring) but rather the fellowship and life in the journey to Mordor.

Being outside.
This is so important. Fresh air and sunshine is sometimes the solution to one feeling a little down. God gave us the outside world. Let’s embrace it!

Expression.
People lack confidence. They’re shy. They avoid expressing themselves.
Firstly, if we had to do a climbing sort of activity. Some people maybe afraid of heights.
Do we just say “that’s okay?” or do we suggest that they give it a bash. Try their best! Face their fears? I hope we suggest the latter.
Give it a go!

Yesterday at the beach, we played this entertaining “guess the sound” game. It was funny! Each person, had to mimic the sound. One definitely has to lose some inhibition and just express yourself! 🙂

Conversation.
Jesus did His best work in normal every day conversation.
Conversation around the table when eating. Or walking and talking.
Or chatting in the bus.
Switch that device off. Have a real chat!

Invitation to live:
In all my years as a Christian I have held onto that verse in John 10:10
“I have come that they may have life. And life to the full.”

Thank you Jesus! I keep asking. What does that full life look like?
For me, some of that answer is getting out and exploring.

AND HOPEFULLY…the PART that comes with maturity is:
Learning from the experience:

Experiences on their own, can only go so far.
There needs to be the reflection on the experience that causes one to to grow:

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