Monday Morning Happiness

It is another week- full of promise and opportunities.  This will be a very good week. I will be happy. I will touch some people’s lives and make it better.   So lets start by sharing this beauty with you: I just had to take a photo of this Bulldog with my cellphone  when I visited it’s owner last week…

2013-10-03 15.57.30Ps- I am not really feeling THAT chirpy this morning. Quite the opposite! So I am trying to chat myself in trying to rise up like an eagle, and not wallow in the mud like a pig…

Hope this face above brings a smile…

For more Monday upliftment- this helped me this morning: http://thewaymarks.wordpress.com/2010/10/16/soar/

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At the University…

where we have been for the past 3 days, I have missed my cameras! So, from the Samsung Galaxy S3 I bring:

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It was peaceful to see the doves descending, and landing on top of this fountain, and drinking water, while we were drinking from the fountain of wisdom at the University of Pretoria’s Advanced Postgraduate Centre…

This morning, on my way to the last workshop, I also saw this daylily at one of the campus’ entrances:

ImageI chose a 3 day workshop lead by Elize Morkel, on the Empowerment of Women, and it was amazing. But not without some pain- here in Africa we are so used to strong patriarchal systems that women really have a hard time to just be accepted and honored as equals to men at work and at home… A workshop like these challenge your own perceptions and point of view. It opens your eyes to your own behaviour and careless words towards women. So it sometimes gets uncomfortably close to the heart… and that is what is needed in our country- men learning to respect women…

So I have learned a lot. I have been sensitised… I hope I can be part of the solution in our country in the way I behave towards women, and the way I treat them even with every day’s words…  I know I am a man, and I make mistakes… I can even think of a few I have made on this blog! (Can you?)

It was hard to hear, but it is good! Thanks Elize!

How to service your own Mazda Drifter Pick-up (Bakkie)

The short answer is: Don’t. There are excellently trained professional service engineers in nearly every town and definitely in every city. In South Africa, just look out for the Ford sign- they go hand in glove together here…  The excellently trained professional service engineer will also use Factory produced service parts, none of that Pirates of the Caribbean stuff that will turn around and kick you in the … sump.  There is only one slight problem… they will usually also charge you a professional’s fee. Not a professional motor mechanic, rather think in the line of a professional brain surgeon, or a professional proctologist looking at your… sump.  But if you are not worried about that small detail of the labor cost and the cost of the factory built original non-pirate OEM parts, proceed to dial the number in your service manual, and make an appointment…  (If you were really rich you would not still be driving around in a 11 year old Pick-up, now would you? No, if that is your brand, you would rather be seen in a brand new Ford Ranger with a service plan. And when the first set of tires gets too worn, you just trade it in for a brand new…)

But me- I have had quite a few mechanical problems in the last few months… (Read: I am a little broke…)  I also am severely handicapped in the mechanical ability department. I was born with 10 thumbs, you see… I would never have the skill to become a gynecologist.  I just can’t feel if something is wrong in dark narrow places.

With all that information, my Mazda was way past due for a service.

In the week I bought the right kind of oil at a closing down sale of a grocery store. I really hope it is the right kind of oil, there is this huge tractor on the outside. What kind of oil is it? Those that come in the purple 5 liter container…

Then it was off to one of our local franchises of pirate car parts. I told them what year model my pickup is, and they gave me a yellow and white box, with an oil filter in it.  I was amazed to see the filter is clean on the outside, when I see them in situ, they are usually covered with an old oil layer and some dust particles.

All those things were pre-bought this week. At amazing prices, I might add.

This morning, when I woke up, it was D Day. The day. While everybody slept, I silently crept up to my unsuspecting pick-up. They also have feelings, you know, did you not see Pixar’s amazing true story of Cars? Lightning McQueen and his friends, and that sexy sexy blue Porsche Boxer…  I digress…   Never touch a pickup with cold hands in the morning, they do the same as when you try to milk a cow with cold hands… they kick and bite. Oh, you live in the city? Well, it is like when your lover is sleeping in a nice warm bed, and you creep into the bed with cold hands, and…  oh boy, there is one of my elders looking at the blog! Moving right along…

We have this ad in South Africa that says that one litre of used oil can contaminate a million litres of drinking water. So I am really into preserving nature for my grandkids’ grandkids one day, would not like Rider VI to drink contaminated water… So I have bought this plastic megafter that you place underneath the draining hole. After searching for 2 days on youtube I finally found the draining hole. It is just like a human… underneath…

I remembered vaguely that you start with the old oil filter. I inherited some tools when my father passed away, and the one thing my 3 boys have not thrown away yet, is the strap that loosens the oil filter. This I got right first time! Then the pickup, not liking my cold hands on it’s intimate parts, proceeded to squirt a stream of oil onto my face. One third of the oil did go into the blue megafter container thingy…

The oil was still cold. Then I remembered that the engine should run a little while, just to make the oil more runny. I started the pickup and listened a few songs on the radio.  Somehow my eye caught a cloud of smoke rising from the engine. I switched off immediately, and used the first fire extinguisher that was standing by patiently for just such mishaps. I have serviced my own vehicles before, and one thing I do remember, is to have enough fire extinguishers and plasters ready…

Somehow a lot of the oil that should have been inside the engine, blew out through the oil filter hole… Amazing. Lesson to my sons: never rev an engine too long without an oil filter. And make sure the fire extinguisher is ready…

I then had to use some of Mrs Rider’s towels to mop up the bed of oil underneath the pickup. It took about 12 towels, but the approximately 6 liters of used oil did not go into mini-Rider’s drinking water, I promise. Somehow, Mrs Rider saw her towels, and is not speaking to me. I did hear her call her mother, and I did hear some words that is not usually heard in a pastor’s home… well, you never understand women, I think it is that time… moving along again…

I located the oil drainage hole, right underneath between the two wheels. I opened it, and the oil again squirted into my eyes. And then some of it fell into the blue megafter, along with the bolt that keeps everything inside. I went into the house again to get cleaning material, for used oil is not good for the environment. We have run out of towels, I called to my wife, but she just yelled something that sounded like  Vark ewe…  A vark is a pig in Afrikaans, and a ewe is a lady sheep. I did not get that one. But I saw some curtains in the house that were used a long time ago. That new washing powder does say it is good with all stains, doesn’t it? Time to put it to the test… but then somehow my previously loving wife got a kitchen knife, and said something about blood stains also needing to be washed out soon…

So, finally, after 3 fire extinguishers, 12 towels, and 3 curtains,  the old oil was out of the engine. I am certain about that. Now I had to go to town, and buy a new bolt/ or screw, or whatever it is called to put into the drainage hole again. I did not have a sample, but bought one that looked similar, more or less. When I arrived home, it was a little bit too small. So I went to town again. The hardware store would not exchange the bolt/screw/ thingy, they said something about not knowing where it have been. So I bought some Pratley Quickset Steel instead. Do you know that we South Africans invented it, and it even went on Space Shuttle missions with Nasa? You get this 2 tubes, with different shades of grey goo. Isn’t there a book about that on the market- something Shades of Grey? I think it must be about how to use Quickset Steel to fix your car and all it’s holes…  Well, I mixed the quickset Steel, and applied it generously to the bolt/screw/thingy, and inserted it gently into the hole- (so that is what all that Shades of Grey is all about… Insert Gently…)  It takes about 20 minutes for the inserted thingy to harden, for good results. Then the hole was stuffed properly… Next Time I will just use my angle grinder and grind it off, and then drill a new hole into it. Problem solved!  There is this saying in my country, A Boer makes a plan… I did.

Then, it was time to fit the new oil filter. I saw it had a rubber seal on it, but you know, that rubber seal looks useful to put into that holes on my tent where the peg goes through. The rubber keeps the tent from tearing, and when the wind blow it really keeps a tent it the upright position.   So, I left out the rubber seal. Instead I applied the rest of the Quickset Steel, so that the Oil Filter will also not be falling of on the dirt roads. It will keep. I am not exactly sure how I will remove it in another 10 000 kilo’s but hey, A Boer will make another plan…

I gently opened the oil hole on top of the block. Then I had to go to the hardware store again to get a syphon… I am never sure what the right English words are for all those complicated thingys… you know, the thing that looks like a Y and you pour things into small holes…  I must look that one up in the Shades of Grey…  You need something like that, otherwise you will have oil all over your engine block. And then you will need another fire extinguisher or two, and it will smell bad inside the cabin for about 1000 km.  So, I poured in the first purple oil canister. Then I remembered that there is this one long thin thingy that must be taken out of the hole. What goes in must come out… eventually. I am not sure how the dipshit (that is what the spell checker suggests, sorry if it is wrong!) works, so I poured another purple container of oil in. When it oozed out of the dipshit’s hole, I thought it should be enough. I tightly screwed on the plug on top of the engine block so that it will not pop off on our potholed roads.

I did look at the air filter, but it was still there, so I just left it, let sleeping dogs lay, my granny always told my dad.  This is fortunately a diesel engine, so no spark plugs that I could see, needed changing, I would not know how to open all those thin metal tubes all over the place anyway.

And there you have it- how to service your own diesel engine pickup.

It took me the whole Saturday morning to achieve, but I did save a lot of money in the process- enough to buy a few beers for this afternoon’s Bulls versus Brumbies Rugby game. Now I just have to find my wife again, who has left our home with my other car, she did look a little red in the face. And then I have to phone a friend, who have read the Shades of Grey book- I need to know why my pickup is belching such different shades of Grey smoke out of it’s exhaust…

Enjoy your weekend sport wherever you are, and drive safely!  If you happen to see my wife, tell her I am sorry, I will buy her new dish cloths soon… And I really, really though those were her old panties…

Photo-  Me and my Pickup- that was not such a lekker day, hey?

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After this I feel like a Master Mechanic, so I am entering this for http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/07/26/out-of-this-world/  for masterful writing and photo of how not to reach your oil filter…  highly insightfull actually in the How To not… category…

Raising boys…

In South Africa we have the midyear school holidays at the moment. It is winter, and the school closes for 3 weeks. The South African academic year stretches from January till end of November. Our Summer holidays stretch over 6 weeks around Christmas.

This is the final week of the school holidays, on Monday it is back to school for the 3rd term.  We did not have the opportunity to go away as family this holiday, as I was on duty in the church.  This is one of the mildest winters we have experienced so far, maybe the Global Warming has finally reached us too. In these long holidays the children are getting really bored. They played a huge amount of Playstation, they watched DVD’s and Wimbledon. They have visited with friends, played tennis, and cycled around town a lot.

So when they complained that they are bored this morning, I really helped them out. We have this beautiful old cast iron garden bench that we bought as newlyweds- it was much cheaper than a lounge suite then! Although it resides on the front porch, it eventually also needed a new layer of varnish.  And so I commandeered my sons to do the job…

I showed them how, and then let them loose with brushes and varnish. And it became a valuable time between us.

When I was much younger, I was afraid of becoming the father of sons. I was afraid that I would not be able to raise them to become men of value to the community. A part of this fear is because I am not handy at all. Any DIY project is intensely difficult for me.  My father was much better at these things than me, but he always became so impatient that he chased me away when I was a boy, I never learned to do any of these DIY stuff.  Now I am the father of 3 boys.  The Lord truly has a sense of humor… 🙂

I am so glad for the Internet. When I want to do something DIY’ish I first have to Google it, hopefully to see how something is done on Youtube. Then I have to go to our hardware store, and try to explain what I am trying to accomplish. Do you know how difficult it is if you do not even know the right names for the tools/ varnish/ paints/ thinners needed to do a job? Extremely frustrating.  When all the stuff are bought, to try figuring out the sequence in which to apply all the gooey stuff on to the wood.  And in the same time trying to teach my young men how to do it in a patient and calm way, that they can have confidence: their dad is on top of this game…

So it is really tough to raise boys, teaching them the skills in life that will help them impress a young lady one day. To show that they are able to maintain her in a house that will not fall apart around her…

But we are having a lot of fun in the process, even though we used more than double the amount of Woodoc 50 Marine Varnish that we were supposed to. So maybe my sons will turn out OK when they are finishing their school career. Maybe they will be able to stand on their own two feet and make their own responsible choices in life.

Meanwhile, I am proud of the men that they are slowly growing up to be.

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The Greatest…

Daily Prompt: Great or Greatest?

by michelle w. on July 1, 2013

What makes a blog great? What makes you follow a blog or “Like” a post?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us GREATNESS.

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I got hooked on blogging, because some bloggers have the ability to take my mind on a journey. Some have the ability to create whole new worlds. One of my favourite blogs is Rolbos, (Tumbleweed in English) where an imaginary community lives, loves, quarrels, struggles, but stand together against all the storms of life. It is written daily in English, and I just can’t wait for the newest post to arrive at midnight each day. When you follow it for a while, you really get to know all the characters of this small town in South Africa, near the Kalahari desert.  And you can learn a lot of wisdom from the way they debate about everything happening to their world, in their local pub.

Then there are my favourite travel blogs. Sherri Jo’s World Tour is a fine example of a lady singlehandedly taking on the whole world on a KTM.  Her photos are amazing and she tells a story in a way that takes you along.

There is also Jordana on the Appalachian Trail, for months now busy on an incredible journey along this famous hiking route in America.  And so there are a few hundred other blogs I follow. Why do I follow a blog? If someone inspires me, it is really easy to press the follow button. On the WordPress reader I scan the “Travel” and “Photography” tags about every day. If someone’s blog looks interesting to me, I scan a few posts. If it keeps my attention, I follow.

On the blogs I follow, a like is like my visiting card- I have seen your effort, and I appreciate it. Also on the photo’s and travel tag posts- if a photo is beautiful, or they tell me interesting things about places, I like it easily.

The other tag that I follow every day, is all the English or Dutch, maybe if I am lucky Afrikaans posts, of people walking any route of the Camino de Santiago. I love to see the places where I have also stumbled along with my backpack. They inspire me, and sometimes I can just leave a word of encouragement when I see someone having a hard time.

The Greatest Blogs become my playground every day- I love to read some people’s thoughts, or see their photos. And it is not all people with 1000’s of hits, or 100’s of followers. I have made a lot of friends in the blogging community, and reading about their life’s journey can be greatness in itself.  There is such a huge amount of creative people around, sharing their talents on their blogs.  I learn a lot, I enjoy a lot, and sometimes it inspires a post on my blog.

So thank you great bloggers of the world- you guys really keep me in touch with the bigger world out there, for me staying in a small little town far from civilization, in the Bundu’s of South Africa…  Like that one book thief said in Dead Poet’s Society- my version: I read blogs to know that I am not alone…

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Picture borrowed/stolen/pirated/ from www.travelwireasia.com

There should only be one law…

Daily Prompt: You’ve Got the Power

by Cheri Lucas Rowlands on June 12, 2013

You have the power to enact a single law. What would it be?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us RULES.

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As a South African, maybe I am a born rebel… I really think there are way too many laws already, interfering with people’s lives. In our history, it had really bad results, as the whole world knows.  We had laws that decided who you may or may not marry, where you should or could not live, we had laws compelling some of us to go to the army. We have silly laws, like giving taxes so our president can have 5 wifes on taxpayers money, and a huge retirement house…  We have laws stating that the adjunk vice secretary of the deputy administrative minister for cleaning the premier of the Limpopo province’s dust bin gets to ride in a Black BMW SUV with blue lights and sirens, accompanied by six police vehicles, travelling at speeds of 200 km/h when she wants to go from Polokwane to Tshwane to do some shopping at Mr Price Home Store in Sefako Maakgattoe drive… the law states that you have 2.1 seconds to get out of the way of the dignitary of the ANC in 2.1 seconds, or you get shot, hanged, beheaded or all three…

We live in a society saturated by laws… and it gets worse every year. There is now a new law stating that we may not question the politicians when they behave like *ssh*les, The Official Secrecy Act.  Politicians may lie and steal from us, we go to jail if we question it…

I would love to see all laws in South Africa wiped off the lawbooks. And all lawyers get to study only one law… it is a law given by Jesus Christ, but I see Confucius also had the same idea. This is the one law I would give my life for:

Luke 6:31

If everybody did just that, this world would be a much better place, and we would not need politicians any longer. I seriously doubt that we do need politicians anyway…

Dulled- no thanks… (Daily Prompt)

Daily Prompt: Dulled

by michelle w. on May 20, 2013

You encounter a mysterious man offering you a magic potion that, once sipped, will make one of your senses (sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch) super sharp — but dull the others. Will you sip it, and if so, what sense do you choose?

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Dear Mister Magic Man- please go away!  For I am the Rider, I need all my senses just as they are!

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Sight:

  • If I were to loose my eyes, I would not be able to ride my Bike. Motorcycling would just not be possible, for a navigator is not fast enough to tell me how the apex of the curve must be taken…
  •   I would not be able to see my beautiful blue BMW just waiting to go for a ride…
  •  I would not be able to see the wonder of nature, which I so enjoy to explore on two wheels.
  •  I would not see the love in her eyes, the smiles of my children.
  •  I would not see a red rose bud unfolding.
  •  So I need to see…

Sound:

  •  I need to hear the friendly growl of my Boxer engine
  •  I need to hear the wind rushing past my helmet. .
  •  I need to hear that idiot in the car’s hooter, warning me he is behaving as he is…
  •  I need to hear the song of the stream, as it plays hopscotch over the rocks in its bed.
  • I  need to hear Dire Straits, and Michael W Smith, I need to hear the worship of my congregation
  •  I live for the sound of a cello, and the victory of the trumpet, and what would life be without Joshua Bell?

Smell: 

  • Life would not be the same without the smell of a fresh bread leaving the oven.
  •  The smell of freshly ground filter coffee…
  •  The smell of a field of hay just mown, when I pass by at sunrise and the dew starts to go to heaven
  •  The smell of my wife on her pillow…
  •  The smell of the sea as the wave breaks over the boulders on the beach…
  •  I could not live without that…

Taste:

  •  Please don’t dull my taste buds… For I love the taste of water from a fresh mountain stream…
  •  I love the taste of sushi,  the salmon nigiri exploding with flavour in my mouth
  •  I love the taste of a good Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon in the company of friends.
  •  A medium rare steak, with a pepper sauce-  what would life be without that?

Feeling:

  •  How could I live if I could not feel the embrace of my family?
  •  How would I live without the feeling of a woman’s wondrous body? The satin smooth of her skin…
  •  How would I survive without the good vibrations of my BMW under me, telling me that we are ALIVE and the road is a joy!

No, Mister Magic Man, go harass someone else… I am happy just as I am… I do not need more, and I do not want less…  I am thankful for what I have received- it is enough…

The love for a word… (Daily Prompt)

Daily Prompt: Unconventional Love

by michelle w. on May 14, 2013

Over the weekend, we explored different ways to love. Today, tell us about the most unconventional love in your life.

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I am no good doing anything with my hands. The things that I try to build, have an extremely short lifespan. When I weld, I get arc-eyes. When I grind, I get iron in my eyes.  When I do woodwork, I cut myself with the saw. When I change a lightbulb, I get shocked…  I do not love DIY like some of my friends. I build nothing that my grandkids can show their children and tell them what a genius I was…

I knew that from a very young age. My father always chased me away when I tried to help him, repairing the cars, or maintaining the house… He said he always have double the amount of work if I help- to undo what I did, and then to do the job at hand properly.

So, from a very young age, I fell in love with words… Books became my best friends. They were always there for me when I could not connect with other people.

Since the primary school, I have had this love of reading words.  I sometimes have difficulty in relating to real-life people.  Relationships with human beings still, to this day, is very hard work for me. I am the classical introvert, in a job that requires a lot of interaction with other people…

The words that stay with me came from the movie Dead Poets Society. A student was caught stealing a book. THe teacher, John Keating (Robin Williams), saw the theft, and followed the student to his room to confront him. The room was full of stolen books. And when Robin Wiliiams asked the student why- he said this immortal words, quoting his father: “We read  to know that we are not alone…

I think this defines my unusual love. The love for words. It is still extremely hard for me to actually go to someone’s house, visit them, and keep a good conversation going.  Maybe I think too slowly in situations like these. But when I read, another world opens up for me. That is why I am so hooked on blogging. In your blogs, dear readers, whatever you write about, I see a piece of your heart. Be it travelling, cooking, books, motorbikes, cars, nature, photography-  when I see somebody’s heart shining through on their blog, I click a “Follow” button really quick. I like to see what you think. I like to read your words, giving meaning to your life, in your specific set of circumstances….  I love your words!

My blog also gives me great joy. This is the one medium in which I can express myself as I am, as I enjoy life, as I look at the things and happening around me. And some people actually dare to read it… that amazes me!  I think the greatest show of respect is when somebody hear your words! When they actually listen, and get the meaning of what you are trying to say. So yes- my blog has an unconventional place of love in my life. It is more than just a piece of writing, it is a part of me. .

I also became a pastor, out of love of God’s Word.  It is my experience that God loves us, that He told us that we are precious to Him. His word tells me that life does have meaning. His word gives me hope. The second most beautiful word in my life is the word “Grace”.  In spite of all my weaknesses and pain, God keeps on loving me, healing me. That is Grace!  I am always welcome in His presence- that is Grace. Why does He do it? The most beautiful word in the Bible- the word Love. That is the most important concept in my life. The true meaning of the word Love, more than just a fleeting moment of emotion. Love that conquers every obstacle in it’s way. Love that wants to give every person life in abundance (John 10:10) .  Love that fills us with Joy (John 15:11). Love that leads to peace.

So there you have a small glimpse into my unconventional love- the love for words. The Word of God, telling me about love and peace. The words of others in their blogs, showing me more of the wonder of life in different place and points of view. The love to express my words, which sometimes touches other people’s hearts.

Words are a vehicle for love. Thank you for your words in my life!

Love is a beautiful song… and more… (Daily Prompt)

Daily Prompt: I Want to Know What Love Is

by michelle w. on May 11, 2013

We each have many types of love relationships — parents, children, spouses, friends. And they’re not always with people; you may love an animal, or a place. Is there a single idea or definition that runs through all the varieties of “love”?

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Foreigner asked this question when I was much younger… : “I want to know what love is…”   And since then, this question is still bugging me, and keeping me busy in my thoughts.  For I am a wedding official in our country.  Our Department of Home Affairs licenced me to perform weddings, that is binding by law…

As a marriage official, I have seen so much couples over the past two decades. And each of them had a song in their heart, with which they opened the dance floor after the wedding.  Some sing to each other the words of Josh Groban: “You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains…”   They sing to each other with Savage Garden: “Truly, madly deeply…” They look deep into each other’s eyes later in the evening and sing with Queen: “ You’re my best friend”  or Joe Cocker crones for them: “You are so beautiful…”   As the evening progresses the Boyz II Men promise: “I’ll make love to you...”  and one of my favourite songs… Eric Clapton, the master- “Beautiful Tonight…”  

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itsabrideslife.com

But how can a late night at the wedding reception not have Barry White, in that deep voice, singing: “My first, my last, my everything…”   or Elvis, the King, sings “ Love me tender…”   How could a wedding feast not have the Righteous Brothers singing: “Unchained Melody…”  or Lionel Ritchie and Diana Ross with ” Endless LOve

The beginning of love is a beautiful song…

But I, as a pastor, also see the other end of the journey in so many lives…

Even here are some songs applicable: U2- “With or without you…”   Sometimes doubt sets in… Tina Turner asks: “What’s love, but a secondhand emotion?

When there are no change of direction, Def Leppard cries: “Love hurts…”  The BeeGees begins to aslk: How deep is your love? 

It’s a sad day when Air Supply begins to say: “I’m all out of love”   And Joe Cocker cries: “Unbreak my heart…”   Like Heart, you can feel so “Alone” 

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urbanlegendkampala.com

Then the whole Country genre of music kicks in- your horse dies,, your dog bites you, all goes South…  “You piiiicked a fine time to leave me Lucille…” (Kenny Rogers)   And Shania Twain asks “Whose bed have your boots been under?”  Bummer.

Over a drink you cry with R.E.M “Everybody hurts...”  Till Roy Orbison declares: “It’s over…”   You go with Elvis to the “Heartbreak Hotel”.  Your “significant other is now, in your eyes, as Pat Benatar declares, a “Heartbreaker…”  You wish for just “ONe more night” with Phil Collins, but you had your chance…  And Linda Ronstadt says “It hurts so bad…”  Later all you can think about is: “Yesterday” (the Beatles). Yip, Bob MArley- “No woman no cry”

I have seen love’s beginning, and I have seen love’s end. Love does not have to end!  But it takes hard work to keep it alive and growing…

How to save your love?

  1.  Boston has it right. Love is “More than a feeling!”
  2.  Treasure each other- Shania Twain: “You’re still the one…
  3.  “Don’t you forget about me” – Simple Minds- Make the other one feel special.
  4. Nothing compares to you“- Sinead o’ Connor- wise words! Don’t Compare!
  5. You are always on my mind” Elvis- Think about how to be a good companion for life’s journey!
  6. In the arms of the angel” Sarah Maclachlin-  Give each other hugs, celebrate each other’s bodies…
  7.  “The first time, I ever saw your face” Roberta Flack – Remember, and celebrate your journey together!
  8.  “To where you are” Josh Groban- time spent together is important, make it count!
  9.  “I believe I can Fly” by R Kelly- Believe when you can’t see…
  10.  “The Greatest Love of all”– Whitney Housten- BE that to your lover!

But in the end- Foreigner still have the best answer to the question: “I want to know what Love is…” And that is… “I want you to show me…

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positivemed.com

Behind the closed door…

Yesterday actually started in a light mood, but then I had one of the worst case scenario days in ministry…

Today, I am still feeling a little shell-shocked. Compassion fatigue. Call it what you may. I love people. And I hate it when people gets hurt in life.  So today, I am not in that light hearted mood.

So I decided to just share a photo from my Camino de Santiago in 2011 with you all.  I took this picture somewhere in the streets between the cathedral in Léon and the route out further on to San Marcos…

I stress it again that I know nothing of the people staying behind this door… it is just a beautiful old door on the Camino, somewhere in Léon…

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If I walk through ancient places like the smaller towns and cities in Europe, I love to see the people’s doors.  And I imagine what is happening behind that door.

It is obviously an old door, maybe it opened and closed for several generations of a family living there…

  • Most probably a bridegroom carried his bride over the threshold when the house was first built for a newly wedded couple…
  •  Through it the doctor came rushing in, or the expectant mother came rushing out to go to a midwife/hospital to deliver a baby…
  •  This door was closed with great care so that toddlers would not wander off into the street and alleyways…
  •  This door was slammed by more than one teenager, furious for parents who does not like the “significant other” that they love so much with their whole being. When the door slam shut, the universe trembled.
  • There was some decorations on the door, when that teenager brought the right one home, and there was a wedding celebrated.
  •  There was the solemn knock of the priest on the door, bringing the news of a grandparent who passed away.
  •  The door remained shut through illness and diseases that held the family in bed.
  • It swung open happily to let friends enter, inviting them to the dinner feast, celebrating love and life, friendship and good times.
  • It finally admitted the undertaker, and swung slowly shut when the owner of the house passed away…
  • To be happily opened again by a young couple, who bought this house as their first home, to love in, to grow, to celebrate…

From age to age this door swung open, and shut again, ringing in the good times and the bad, in what we call the human existence.

May the people behind this door do everything to celebrate life, and love, and happiness.  May the hate, and the anger, and the hurt stay outside…

May that also be true of YOUR door…