... Living inspired by the beauty of life, one post at a time.

Monday, December 23, 2013

One Word

Compassion has challenged bloggers to choose one word to embody 2014, one word that embodies the promise of the upcoming year. One word in concrete form, one word full of possibilities, one word to substantiate a life and then blog about it.


I think about that one word and this boy, our boy in Rwanda. I think back to when we picked his little face out from the sea of faces before us.

Happy.

There's a word. We were happy to embrace this boy into our life. Me, a newly single mother, full of hope for a better future too. I was happy to make a small difference. I didn't see the difficult years stretching ahead of us, didn't expect them to overshadow that happiness. I think about how sometimes it was a struggle, how working part time and scratching out an existence was harder than I expected with two young children by my side. I think about the late payments made.

Sorry.

There's another word. I'm sorry for that. I made it though, kept those payments going. Glad too that I did. Things are different now, easier. I think about this Christmas and wish I could see your face. I know you will be laughing. I can just imagine it. There's a present on its way, just for you Eric. I'm hopeful Eric. Real hopeful, that one day I will visit you, hold you in the flesh and see you face to face. Have hope Eric.

Hope.

 * ~//~ *


I keep thinking about that one word that will frame my world, there are so many words that I could hold up as a banner over all that I am hoping and believing for in 2014. Words like, Faith - Courage - Breadth - Depth and Purpose to name just a few. Words that boldly declare my hopes and dreams, words that shout loudly from the mountain top of a restless soul, and words whispered quietly through cracks of fear.

I need this:
Faith - to hold close to my convictions with unshakeable confidence, because sometimes the years seem to merge so quickly that they are swallowed up in the daily ritual of treading water, afloat - somewhere, but not really going anywhere. 

It's hard to see perspective when vision is distant, when dreams feel remote!


I must embrace this:
Courage - to face difficulty, to keep rising up when fear would keep me contained, because if I think about all the things that stand in the way I wouldn't go any further. 

The glass ceiling of motherhood on your own is imposing, invisible forces frustrating!


I long for this: 
Breadth - to live free from narrowness or restraint, to reach out with greater capacity, because I want to embrace the wide open spaces of this life, make every breath count. Dream impossible dreams and hinge them closely to my heart, hang them around my soul.

Suffocating in a world where negativity is breathed like oxygen, overwhelming!


Have to grasp this:
Depth - to go beyond one's capability, to surpass previous understandings, push past cold hard facts. To disentangle the opposing dogma of a risen truth verses a fallen reality. 

Not easy when the head and the heart conflict, when what seems logical makes no sense at all. When living safe means a dream might wither, pointless then!


Must do this:
Purpose - to resolve to do something, to intentionally determine a goal (a mission, an objective ... a line drawn in the sand) with resoluteness, then freely emancipate this life to that calling.

Harder than imagined!


When I think about all of these things, THERE IS one word, one word that gives tangible expression to all of this - expand! I let it rest there, hovering above me, pushing back shadows, dusting off dreams - again! I breathe deeper, breathe more fully. I like this word. A lot!

Expand. 

~ to increase or grow in extent, to distend beyond the point of natural expansion.

~ to stretch out and unfold, to spread out in every direction.

~ to express something more fully or in greater detail, to express oneself more fully.

Substantiate life with unfurling!

The truth is, I need to unfurl my life ... let it unravel a little, walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. I'm hoping for all this!



Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Something to think about!



Who would have thought!! ... such profound wisdom from this modern day physicist of quantum mechanics, and here is another one.

'Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.'

I'm making some big decisions right now, planning out how this next year will look and I want it to count. 

This next quote by Mr Einstein got me thinking, a lot! (I didn't know he was such a whizz at delivering such beautiful pearls of wisdom.) I want to be on of those people who do something to make the world a better place. I want to do something that will leave a mark upon eternity, something that reaches into tomorrow and changes today.

'The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.'

As we step out, there are always the voices that tell us we don't have what it takes, that we are not bold enough, smart enough or brave enough. Perhaps we find ourselves sitting on the fence of life, I know I have. But, one way or another we have to eventually decide how life looks and what our role will be. We either end up fence sitting and dreaming our life away or step over into that something unknown but incredibly wonderful. As for me, I am stepping over into that unknown and wonderful thing that beckons me forward. Scary, Yes! ... but mediocrity only sucks the life out of us. Safe and easy will be my undoing. Time to be bold and brave!

'Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.'

'Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.'

Albert Einstein

(Thank you Albert Einstein, such great truths from a magnificent mind.)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Compassion Assignment no. 3




I am participating in blog month at Compassion. Assignment no. 3 requires bloggers to tell a story behind a Compassion image. Here is that story.

The sound of gentle breathing hummed in the humid air. Red dust particles wafted lazily through the opening in the mud wall. A goat was bleating in the distance. Nzuri anxiously wondered if her eldest son had finished milking the neighbour’s goat. Gratitude filled her heart and she murmured a prayer of thankfulness, relieved that her son had acquired this particular chore and hoped the small offering of maize tucked carefully into a raffia bowl would be received with delight. Nzuri adjusted the wadding of material that firmly held her napping babe in place across her slender back, and gingerly kneeled on the worn spot in the center of her hut. Tightening the cocoon of the sleeping infant, she continued her Chapati ritual. Pounding out the lump of unleavened dough, Nzuri intentionally eyed the two little faces sitting cross-legged on the earthen floor before her. Lifting her finger to her lips she encouraged their silent vigil as they eagerly watched her knead the dough into shape. Her rhythmical motions rocked the baby snuggled tightly against her, contented snoring filled every space of the simple hut. As she kneaded, she allowed her thoughts to wander aimlessly, exploring every nook and cranny of her mind. Fears came unbidden, opening old worries, and forming new ones. She wondered if there would be enough milk to sustain this babe longer than the last. Dared she hope for her own goat! Perhaps this year would be different. Her thoughts shifted to her Compassion sponsor, and her eyes rested on the rumpled photo wedged into a crevice high in the mud wall. Immediately the worries vanished, her heart settled once again. Nzuri smiled confidently at her children. “Soon my little ones, the Chapati will be ready soon”, she breathed to the expectant faces sitting before her.

Join Me for Blog Month

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Blogging for Compassion


It's blog month over at Compassion during the month of September. I signed up as a Compassion blogger last month on the spur of the moment, thinking that this would be a great opportunity to get involved in a mission I wholeheartedly believe in. Then I missed the first assignment, being so busy and all! ... now it is week two and I'm still trying to find the time to do this assignment. I keep re reading the suggestions for writing, going over and over the prompt words, hope - poverty - silence - sacrifice ... and wait patiently for the moment that something inspirational begins forming in my mind, yet the something profound I am searching for escapes me. I have been staring at the words on the screen for some time now, waiting patiently at first, and then with a certain amount of angst. Because, the truth is - these words rest heavy on my soul. How can I give justice to these particular words? It is easy to write down a few good lines, throw together a bunch of great ideas, pull a few heart strings and push the button that says 'publish post'. Voila, done!

However,
I long for each thought to be carefully measured with purpose and significance. 
I desire to afford each word appropriate truth and dignity. 
The weight of responsibility makes me pause. 


Hope
Poverty
Silence
Sacrifice

Which word should I choose? The lives on the other side of my words, the children behind this project, cause me to catch my breath. My heart is moved, I wonder if I can make a difference by just punching out a string of words on my computer? There are lives out there waiting, a hurting and suffering world so full that I wonder if what I have to say can change anything! I think about our little boy living in Rwanda, where water is scarce and sanitation poor. A child of a subsistence farming community growing what little crops they can for their own consumption. I can't imagine his life, not really. Born into a country devastated by a genocidal mass slaughter, a country still struggling to rebuild itself nineteen years later is so very far beyond my understanding. How can I shed light on this situation? What can I say that hasn't already been said? 

and then by its own volition, 
the word 'silence' finally speaks to me, 
each letter lifts from the page, 
hangs surreptitiously in the air, 
pulsating frantically before me.

The word slides through my mind, s-i-l-e-n-t. I test it out, speaking it aloud, pronouncing the 't' with particular emphasis. I think about how I nearly let this opportunity pass, how I almost put my laptop away and became reticent with my plans. I ponder how easy it is to be silent when we lack the eloquence to speak up or put our thoughts forth with clarity and certainty. It has stopped me before, this not quite being able to carefully articulate what is deep in my heart.

It is easy to hold back, to refrain from being just another voice in a world saturated by a never ending parade of LOUD voices. There are so many voices competing for our time and attention. The din can be overwhelming. How do you filter out the voices that don't matter, and focus on the ones that do? Our words matter. Our voices matter. I press in closer, lean into that quiet still voice, the one that guides me along still waters. It takes me out to green pastures, calls me forward and leads me on. I see the path I need to take,

and I realise I cannot be silent. Not today, not ever!


Sponsor a child today.

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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sweet glory of gratitude

Life is in the details ... it happens in the small sweet moments of life, amidst the every day existence of walking day to day that we can truly rest completely and utterly content. In finally learning to be content - with whatever and wherever .... with little or much, that it takes you by surprise. It leads you by the hand and moves you in a different direction. Gratitude takes you somewhere entirely unexpected - those moments of thanksgiving can so completely overwhelm and fill our hearts to the brim, that it changes us - profoundly. it becomes unbelievably fulfilling, undeniably sustaining, ultimately life defining and wholly satisfying. These are the ones - the heaven breathed moments meant just for us, that fully take our breath away. Because, the sweet glory of living a wonderfully hope filled life is indeed extraordinary.



Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hope will lead us on


Hope flickers in the darkness, 
a light that pervades turmoil, 
leading the hopeless forward. 
A presence that lingers on the horizon, 
calling aloud to her people,
 beckoning the willing toward her. 
Press on, one step, one breath 
- Hope cannot stand still. 
She moves with purpose, pushing ahead 
where none have gone before. 
The brave follow her weaving trail, 
they hear her whisper in the wind,
 and tend to her words. 
This light of heaven invading earth, 
daring the bravest of souls
 to walk into the great unknown, 
envelops the most daring of subjects. 
Her flickering flame burns deep, 
deep into the heart of man.
 The stamp of eternity is thus pressed
 hard against the heel of humanity, 
leaving its fiery mark. 
An eternal flame of certainty
 glows brightly where dreams once lay bare, 
Hope will lead us on.

Hope is stirring deep within. She is a sweet balm for the soul, healing to the heart and health to the bones. When everything swirling in the air is abuzz with doubt and worry, and fears linger on the edge of reason, hope assures me that there is more - more to do, more to this life, more dreams longing to be clothed with significance, so much more out there still.

Heart and Soul Pursuits

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Confident Hope



A Confident Hope

A confident hope t'is a place of safety and shelter, a sweet sanctity of promise.
A strong tower and fortress, standing formidably on summits of dank turmoil.
The place where soul marrow is nourished and spirit fire glows brightly.
Impervious refuge of bolstered integrity and unpretentious trust,
where bone weary beings find rest in the promise of more.
Amidst the opulence of an interminable tranquility,
it is an anticipation and expectancy that is sure.
Determined and unwavering in its existence.
It spills forth, overflowing and bubbling.
The breath of life in broken ruins.
A wellspring that never dies.
Lifting us up and away.
Rising like the wind,
hope leads us on.
Embrace hope, 
hold hope.
~ hope ~

~ K. Weight ~

... so very thankful for an abiding hope that continually beckons me forward.

More hope here

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Facing Fear



From the moment our children are born, fear stealthily sneaks in to our lives.
It peeks around every corner and lurks behind every opportunity.
We check and recheck on our babes at night,
listening for their gentle breathing, just in case!
We wonder about the notion of letting our cherubs ride their bike
... around the block, unsupervised!  
When they are older,
we 'um and ah' about them hanging out at the local hangouts
or getting a job!
 ... and the hardest one yet,
watching (with your heart in your mouth)
as your child drives away from you,
- in a CAR,
ON THEIR OWN!

Fear overwhelms, steals joy, robs peace and suffocates faith, if we let it.
As a mother parenting on her own, I have had to get good at facing fear.

I have had to shut the door on fear many many times over the years. Sometimes I did it slowly, way too slowly. Once fear is in, it doesn't leave easily. When my marriage fell apart, fear came in endless waves of foreboding and apprehension. Like termites weakening the foundations of the family home, they gnawed their way in, undermining trust - disintegrating resolve.

The warning signs were not always clear, the slow growl of the enemy rushed in amongst a million things to do. Panicky feelings skittered senseless across a desolate and empty terrain. Thoughts running wildly, freakishly rampant in a frantic daily schedule. Days, endless ones stretched far and wide, those days fear traipsed a haunting path. It left me exhausted, breathless.

These days, this sheltering from the blustering winds of unease is still a work in progress. I recognise the prowl sooner, sense the rising panic before it bubbles over, stop the thoughts before they begin to race - shut the door, wedge it closed, keep the wolf from the door.

I had to believe, that there was more,
more to all of this - more to this life, more for my life!
Trust and faith guard the doorway, now.
A strong tower and place of refuge, my place.
Their sturdy presence stand formidably, a fortress I can trust.
It wasn't always this way.

Trust came first wrapping her arms tightly. Gentle words soothed the soul - gracious words, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Words that spoke of purpose - of a future (still out there) and a hope (still flickering). Perhaps, all things might work together  - for good, after all. Trust bridged that gap across to faith. Faith didn't seem so far away then. That bridge slowly built, upon layers of grisly muck and grim pickings. That bridge wasn't built in a day, but it stands stronger today. 

I learnt to trust when I didn't feel like it.
- to trust when things didn't make sense, at all.

To trust despite everything,
despite the upheaval of divorce, 
despite the single mother status,
and despite all the broken dreams.

I opened up my heart - again, 
and chose to trust, that God held it all (even the mess) ... in his hands, 
and somewhere in all that trusting, faith grew!
I grew.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. - Psalm 73:26

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Our Deepest Fear


Imagine a world where fear didn't limit you? 

Because

Fear does limit us, often in small seemingly negligible ways.
Only, it shows up big later on down the road, when we try
stretching for faith and are left hopelessly flailing in its wake. 
It stops us in our tracks, leaves a cold sweat slick to our sides.
Its insidious grip - so stifling, crushing and oppressive. Hot!
Our deepest fear ringing loud in our ears, us stranding alone.
Not enough, too loud, too quiet, too plain, really - too much!
Sucking oxygen from the soul, surreptitiously invading and 
fanning the flames of dread, snuffing the light within. Dead!

But

What if we truly did believe, that we were powerful. Seriously!
Alive for purpose and significance, lovely beyond description.
Possessors of boundless aptitude, capacity or ability, no really!
A city on a hill that cannot be hidden, a beacon in the darkness.
We could upend fear, hold faith near.

That we - humankind, might be living breathing vessels, carriers of a divine plan.
Powerful, not because of our frail humanity or its limited and shortsighted altruism. 
But because of an omnipotent and infinitely greater power bequeathing upon us a 
magnanimous legacy of extraordinary proportions. So great in its magnificence, 
so exceedingly exceptional that it seems incomprehensible, it truly defies belief!

How would that change you? 


Linking up with
and Emily's Love Dare

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Time out and a trip to the Zoo


Love time with this girl. She makes me smile. Each year in March we go away for the weekend to Sydney. Just the two of us for some Mother - Daughter time. We started going in her third year of high school. She was fourteen. That was a hard age! I nearly gave up that year, but I decided to give it another crack ... and here we are four years on. It makes my heart glad that she still likes to bounce ideas around with me and seeks a little wise counsel every now and then (Seventeen years slipped by much too fast). So very glad that I invested time out with her in the teenage years. We may have sowed in tears but the harvest looks pretty good right about now!

Taronga Zoo (Never too old for this stuff!) in Sydney was a highlight of our trip. Mesmerised by the antics of the elephants (especially the babies), I clicked away as they attempted to push and dunk each other under the water - aahh, photographers paradise! They were having the time of their life and so was I. 


Watching these enormous animals play with such abandon was riveting, so cheeky. Can't believe I captured all this on my smart phone! (Can't believe I forgot my camera but not bad for a Samsung Galaxy S3, pretty impressed with its ability! ... what do you think?) 


There is something very majestic about these creatures 
and pretty awesome being up this close and personal!
Such an amazing time (and a very happy Mamma's heart).

Linking up with Casey Leigh for 'On your heart'.
The Wiegands

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Family Heritage

Recently I have been looking into our family heritage. It is interesting what one can find on google. I grew up knowing very little about my extended family and never knew any of my grandparents. Details are sketchy at best. The other day I found my Great Grandmothers death certificate online. (Random I know. Completely unexpected but there it was in the Swedish paper.) Being in Swedish I had to use an online translation tool to work it all out. (Eventually I got there.)

My father sent me this family photo during the week. 
(Face book is good for that and connecting over the miles.)
It must be the only one we have.
A good catholic family ... so many children!
My Grandmother is the one seated on the left: 
~ Olga Violet Pettersson ~
From Left to right - Olga, Carl, Maria, Frank, Vera (back row)
Frank Snr, Hilly, Florence and Norma (front row)

My fascination with investigating the past has led me down many rabbit warrens, the journey however has been completely entertaining and thoroughly enlightening. (Particularly when you are stuck in bed with the flu!! Thank goodness for a laptop!) 

Understanding how the past reaches into our future despite generational divides is complex and compelling. I find it utterly fascinating. To understand how the past has had a hand in shaping me and moulding me often leaves me contemplative and reflective, especially when I try to analyse and dissect the things I believe, the choices I have made and the person I have ultimately become. (Yes, I am choleric by nature!) It is both scary and enthralling all at the same time. Don't get me wrong, I am a big believer in moving on and letting go, of not dwelling in the past. But, there is something about knowing the history you have come from ... the battles that were fought by a generation that went before you, the victories that have been won on your behalf. 

Just knowing that these people made a perilous journey on a crowded ship across a vast ocean to begin a new life in a foreign country is inspiring ... They came with very little, yet, they courageously forged this life. Adapting to a different culture, novel customs and a strange language system so far removed from what they had previously known. They made sacrifices that allow me the amazing freedoms I have today. I am truly grateful. 

As I work at piecing the little genealogy I have together, a picture is slowly emerging. I am encouraged to know that fearless people went before me. Determined, resolute individuals who set out for the new world (New Zealand - the promised land.) I wonder about the notion of where I would be without the choices that were made by my ancestors. Who would I be? 

It is hard to comprehend anything but what I now know. I try to picture myself on a small Swedish Island in the baltic sea and can't quite envisage it. I roll around the name in my mind - Gotland, trying to make it fit. But I can't imagine myself there! It's a piece of the puzzle that just wont fit. 

When I think about the losses I have suffered in my lifetime, the things that have changed my history and impacted that of my children ... the things that could keep me down or hemmed in. I can't help but be inspired by the determination so firmly etched in the features of my ancestors. Spirits completely resolute have trailed before me. I look at these people so solemnly spread out in this family photo and am eager to know their stories more intimately. Some day, in the halls of heaven, I hope to hear in detail how they made the future I now live, so very possible!

The past is indeed a great teacher, history a great story.

'Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it' - George Santayana




Sunday, January 20, 2013

Finding purpose


I love the thought that 'Love is the essential reality', that somewhere in the core of our humanity resides a vital and necessary truth. If we were to be truly conscious of it, truly aware of its power, we would use it, wield it, fling it far and wide.
 If we would allow it free reign, give love unfettered reach, grant it unmitigated freedom, then we would sanction the collision of compassion and conviction in a profound and passionate allegiance. It would fortify us, strengthen us and transform us. We could step outside and beyond the grasp of malevolent fear in radical and uncompromising ways. It would revolutionise us! 

We could unhinge hate
we'd give, not take
embrace, not shun
seek, not run
accept, not judge
protect, not destroy
we would hold on and not let go.

We would realise our capacity, tap into our potential and find our purpose. 

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 
 It never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 
Love triumphs every time!

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