Posted in Inspirational, South Africa

Why I enjoyed facilitating the gap year? (Creating a Tapestry)

Yesterday, do you know what we did with the gappers (name for the gap year students)?
We went out to traffic lights in Stellies (Stellenbosch) and stood there like the beggars do holding up cardboard signs. But our signs conveyed a different message…

We had positive, encouraging and funny messages!

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The response from the gappers was so enthusiastic! They enjoyed doing something different. They enjoyed connecting with those waiting at the robots (South African terminology for traffic lights.)

It got me thinking about why I have enjoyed the gap year this year. Because it’s been a full one! (This year seems to be one of the fullest years of my life. Jammed packed with experiences and learning.)

I think of how the back of a Tapestry looks…

tapestryback2

It looks messy! It looks chaotic on the reverse end…
However, if you look at that same tapestry from the front; it would look stunning!

At the back, it’s all knots and colours and threads in a seemingly random chaos.
But on the front, all of that creates a stunning image!

Same with this gap year programme:
It has been a full year with all sorts of things:

Career visits
Fun Wednesday activities
Thurs morning discipleship sessions
Friday morning introspective time
Tour Prep
Team Building
Ministry
Chapel
Core Values
Acting and dancing
A lot of mileage in the vehicle
Quad dynamics
Serving
Cleaning
Inspection
Travel
Trip to Argentina
Deep moments
Surface moments
Conversations
Meeting people
Being annoyed by people too
Wonder
Questions
Answers
All sorts of emotions
Life lessons
Trying new things
Facing fears
Wrestling with God
Singing
Stillness
Standing with cardboard signs
Handing out flyers
Rolling up cables
Making Posters
Wearing make-up for stage
Stepping out of your comfort zone
Good food
Bad food
Random things

But all of it… has created and been part of this Pneukleus Gap Year.
All of it has been filtered into a world view, I hope.

Inspired by Proverbs 4: 23 “Guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.”

My prayer for each gapper is that when they leave at the end of the year:

‘That they would see God in everything. That they would see Him in their career. In their homes. In their friendships. In their choices. That they would live with wonder, with the small things and the big things. To see God in people. To see Him in nature. To see and connect with Him in each moment.’

It’s a big prayer, but we serve a big God, right?

This year, running the programme for the first time, has been an eye opener for me in many ways. There is yet another stance to life: BE OPEN

Open to what’s going on around you.
Open to opportunities.
Open to others.
Open to the movement of God.
Open to all careers out there. Appreciate what others do (even if you’re not interested in that particular field.)

Anyway, I may be sidetracking here a bit. Somethings that stick out for me from the gap year, in no particular order:

1) We climbed table mountain (we hiked up!) – it was a first time for one of our students and it was so great to see the thrill on his face. To see how he was taking it all in. Words fail to describe it. But being part of that moment in his life. Priceless!

2) We visited over 15 various careers. With some of our visits the people we chatted with “married” their work life and faith together. (In some cases I never knew of their stance with Christianity) – but the way they spoke about their career and God and things between, came across so naturally. And definitely inspiring too! “Faith doesn’t have to be a jacket one wears. It cannot be part of our very being.”

3) When the gappers had to do their “I AM presentation” – a way of capturing their years’s experience. To hear and see what God has also done below the “surface of their lives” was moving.

4) Then with the conversations and moments I’ve had with some of them throughout the year. Blessed to have been able to impart some wisdom or even receive some too.

5) The trip to Argentina was mind blowing. So much learned. Two weeks in the country but those days carried so much weight. A good sort of weight.

We really could have a lengthy conversation of all that the gap year has been. And being part of Pneumatix – how God has used the stage too… amazing!

Such an incredible journey.
If you are keen to read some overview of Pneukleus Gap year – go THERE
And for Pneumatix – click HERE

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Posted in Humour, My Writings, People

Where the Old Wives Tales began…

(Started on 19 September 2017)

oh-14-03369_oldwivestales

“It happened again!  I really love him.  This Friday night ritual with my son is something I look forward to each week.  But…”

“But what?” Mary chimed in.  She wanted her to speed up the story so that she could share hers.

Alison continued, “But Marcus spends so much time outside playing with the fire after we have cooked the meat.  Sometimes he can go on for an hour longer.  And all I want to do is lock up the house, sit in bed with my book, and eventually fall asleep knowing Marcus is sleeping soundly in the next room.”

Mary and Sophie nodded.  They understood.

“I’m only 37 but I feel so old.  And he’s only 11; full of life and wonder.  But how do I stop his obsession with the fire?”

The room they sat in was dimly lit, compliant to the grey clouds outside.  It was a Saturday afternoon.  The three of them met once a month.  It started out with the same intention as all other book clubs.  They started with all of them buying the latest of Karen Kingsbury.  They had probably discussed half of the first chapter.  And since that first day these visits became a “you have a shoulder to lean on” sessions.  Much needed therapy for these ladies.  Accompanied with home baked cookies and some tea.  They had managed to stick to the cooking baking roster quite religiously.  However their books stayed tightly shut.

Mary jumped in with her dilemma.  “I have a similar situation with the kids on Sunday.  After lunch, Jim and I want to go for our afternoon nap, but Jason and Jessica always want to jump in the pool.  And once they start they can stay in there for hours.  Then next thing we know, it’s already 5pm and they day is drawing to a close.”

“Ladies, these are serious concerns.  We need to do something about them!” Sophie continued, “My son has a fascination with picking up little creatures.  Especially frogs; and I’m so terrified that he gets bitten by something more dangerous one day.”

Sophie and her hubby built the pond in their garden when they first bought their home.  They liked the therapy of watching their goldfish and koi.  It was a great idea before kids.  Now that George was at his curious age – he’d often put his hand in the pond and pick up the frogs.  Soon he may just attempt going for the goldfish too.  And then little Rebecca may follow suit.

These ladies each had dilemma.  What could they do?  They each stirred their tea in sync as the silence hovered about their racing minds.

Being a wife was difficult at times.  And being a mother was no easy feat either.  There had to be rules and ways that could make things easier…

“How do you two feel about white lies?” Mary teased.  Sophie and Alison frowned in her direction.

“What do you mean?  What are you suggesting?”  Alison asked cautiously.

“A white lie isn’t harmful at all…” Mary, “…in fact, they can even help people.  I believe.”

“How is that?”  Sophie leaned in.

“What if we told our kids an untrue story that would make them not do what we don’t like them doing?”

“Like what, though?” Sophie blurted out loud.  She was already trying to think of a “story” to tell her curious George.

“Well, what if you told George if he touched any frogs he would get warts on his hand?” Mary suggested.

 

Alison and Sophie smiled and nodded together.

“What a brilliant idea!” Alison exclaimed.  “Now that we have one child sorted… what about the other two?”

“We need another cup of tea.”  Sophie said.  She went to go make another round.

 

Three streets down from where they were, little George was oblivious as he reached his hand into the pond and grabbed the unsuspecting frog.  “Look, what I got…” and showed the frog to his sister.  She giggled with excitement.

Those petrified frogs would soon be safe.

Sophie came in with the tray of cups and another tale to tell the kids.

“Why don’t we tell Marcus, if he plays with fire for too long, he will wet his bed?”

Alison and Mary burst into laughter.  “Yes!  Yes, that’s an excellent idea.  And believable too.”

“Two kids sorted.  We need one other idea…”

 

“Mary, how about this; for your kids…”  Sophie was on a roll with her ideas, “Tell them, if they swim, right after eating, they will drown?  It’s bad to swim on a full stomach.”

Again, another brilliant idea!

 

The next weeks four weeks went by, in bliss.  The ladies came back to their usual chit chat session rejuvenated.  There was a glimmer in their eyes and a swagger in their walk.

Marcus had stopped playing with the fire.  He was mortified that he may wet his bed.

On Sundays, after lunch, Jason and Jessica would diligently go nap too.  The house was so dreamy.

And curious George lost his curiosity…  He did not want any warts on his hands.

“Wives 1 – Kids 0.” exclaimed Sophie.

 

“Cheers!” And the three ladies raised their wine glasses.  Their gathering had evolved.  From tea to wine and to their children convinced by a new truth

And that my friends, is how the old wives tales began…

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Doing our bit to SAVE water…

The greater Cape Town is heading for a crisis…
We’re running out of water…
And I’m not the only person to have said that.

AND HOW DO PEOPLE RESPOND?

They say, “the government is lying to us.”
They say,  “we use bore hole water.”
They say, “they must start thinking how we can extract water from the sea.”

Save water theme with earth and faucet

A BETTER WAY

Why not be mindful?
Why not live in consideration?

We live on a property that uses borehole water. But we still are being considerate. Because the water problem is not just theirs but ours too.
We live in a spirit of community. We live beyond ourselves thinking of others.

We catch our shower water.
Use that water to water our gardens (we’re approaching some hot days now)
ALSO we use that water to flush our toilets. We’re filling our cistern with that water we have saved from the shower.
(If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.)

We shower only once a day. (Twice is not necessary)
We keep our dishes to a minimum.

There also use to be a time, when people would “judge you” if you car was dirty. Now here in the Cape; if you car is clean, you are judged. Why are we cleaning our cars in a time of water shortage? it’s not necessary!

THE “STARFISH” THOUGHT:

Who remembers the starfish story?
“The boy walking alongside a beach, picking up starfish that have been washed onto the shore. One at a time, he throws them back into the sea. A man observing this, see’s the boy’s plight. There are hundreds of starfish scattered on the beach. How on earth is he going to make a difference? He approaches the boy on the matter? The boy picks up the next starfish, throws it into the sea and says to the man: I MADE A DIFFERENCE TO THAT ONE.”

The same thing applies here.

What can Catherine and I do? Our little effort may be such a small dent in the big problem…
But we still do our part. And if everyone did their part too… how big would that whole PART look…

I write this, not for hits on my blog. Or a whole seeking attention thing. But just to say. Every little home, each capetonian can do something to help…


WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Posted in Inspirational, People, Uncategorized

I predict…

I’m no prophet. I can’t predict the future…
But I sense a movement of society.
I’m not really sure how to say it in pretty or poetic words…
Simply, I believe society is heading away from the noise (clutter) of social media.
I know social media apps etc are on the increase.
But I think people I just getting fed up!
Another feed, another opinion. Another post (just like this one)

People are desperate for a break.
People long for some sort of stillness
Some sort of not having to “keep up with the Jones’s

People crave a calm from the storm.
Less is more (is still so true!)

And yet, like addicts, it’s difficult for a lot of us to tear away…
One more check of the news feed.
One more tweet to read.

So, I declare there is a time coming, where people will shy away from social media.
It may be a short space in time.
But I believe it will happen.

What do you think?

Posted in Faith, Inspirational, People

A natural fit

There are days when one feels very much in the palm of God’s hand or in His rhythm of life. Today, was one of those days.
Part of the gap year programme is to give the students exposure to various careers out there. It’s good for them to know what is out there. Even if the career is not something that they are particularly interested in… one can still learn from the various professionals / working people that we meet.

I also believe that “ideas breed ideas” – so maybe with one of the career exposure visits, an idea is sparked (birthed) in one of the lives of the gap year students.

This week, the main focus, was online media and journalism. And this morning we threw in a visit to a veterinarian clinic too. (this was the time they had available for us.)

What was fascinating is… (I like to look out for the signs…) -> is that both working places today, the people speaking to the (gap year) students; were (are) Christians. And they spoke freely, and un-awkwardly about God in their work.
There inclusion of God in their presentations was an natural as one breathing.

It didn’t feel like the people were trying too hard! It was evident, that had a relationship with Jesus that is very real to witness.

But more than their faith in God is what was said and taught to the students. We went to Bizcommunity and a Vet to learn about online media and veterinarian sciences respectively – but ended up leaving those visits with so much more…

They imparted life wisdom to the students. They spoke honestly and plainly. They dropped pearls of knowledge. It was fantastic!
It really is difficult to pen into words…but I’d like to end with this:

Sometimes, one can just feel, that God is in the very fabric of life. That He is near. That He is moving in a profound way. And today, was that day!

Posted in Uncategorized

Flip side

They thought the ban would we be a good punishment.
Being away from electrical devices.
For some kids; a nightmare…

But this little guy heads to where the dartboard hangs.
Picks up the darts,
One, lands on 20
Two, he plays on for 3 days
Three, learns to subtract from 301

The flip side leads him to improved mathematics…
Noe that’s good aim!

Posted in Uncategorized

Watch “Pneukleus Gap Year” on YouTube

I have the privilege of running an incredible gap year programme here in South Africa.

This is so much more than just a gap year.
Other gap years are just about: “give me, give me, give me.”

The #Pneukleus gap year asks: what can you offer to the world?

We explore various careers.
We do adventures things such as zip lining, climbing Table Mountain, hiking, kayaking… the list is long…
We tour South Africa for six weeks performing gospel shows on stage.
We ask big questions of faith and God.

This gap year is about Growth.
You will be challenged!
You will be inspired!

More info here:

http://www.pneukleus.com

Posted in Uncategorized

Dear Hitchhiker (again)

I think I wrote to you before.
The early hours of the morning finding me driving past you again.
I want to stop.
But I am scared to.

It’s not you that I am judging…
It’s the horror stories that I have heard.
Truth is, South Africa doesn’t have pretty stats.
So I drive on,

Maybe a braver person, will offer you a ride.
But please hear me, I don’t think you’re a bad person.
I wish you well on your journey

Yours by road,

(Maybe coward) or (maybe cautious) driver,

Posted in Music

Dear Chester (minutes to midnight)

So I am probably going to be the millionth person to add to the mourning of Chester Bennington. It’s been an interesting few days talking over this with some folk.

I “met” your band many years ago when I lived in a town called Ladysmith.
Hybrid Theory awoken the world to some epic music!!! (I remember having One Step Closer screaming out the boot of my friend’s car. And we stood their like cool kids.) I think we even attempting screaming with you.

At clubs, just after our school years, we’d be moshing out on the dance floor to the sounds of Linkin Park.

When my dad had his stroke in 2007 and I went over to the UK, minutes to midnight became my sound track to those few weeks in such a wonderful country. I can still see (in my memory) the streets of St Albans; where I heard a particular song from that album. (yes, music transports people.)

These songs moved me a lot and have been added to the soundtrack of my life at some point:

1) Crawling
2) Place for my head
3) Hands held high
4) Leave out all the rest
5) Faint
6) Numb

There are more… in fact, like I said, above, the whole album (minutes to midnight) can be added…

It’s sad that you as a rock star, had unnecessary expectations placed on you. That sucks! I’m sorry that you had no one to speak to with the crap you were going through. That you had to get to the point that ending your life… would be the way out…

Chester, thank you for bringing your artistry to the world.
Bringing your heartfelt lyrics to the world.
The dark ones, the positive ones, all have helped others through times in their lives.

You may never know the impact your lyrics had on moving people from a place of pain.

Chester, rest “in pieces”

We do care, that “one more light” has gone out…

Godspeed,

A face in the crowd at Sonisphere 2009