Sunday, March 31, 2013

Trading words for seeds

How many radio-talks have you heard that really inspired you? - where you thought, "I really must follow this up!" This past week I took time to look up a business I'd heard about, "Reel Gardening". A young South African has developed a system of packaging seeds, so that you simply plant them: the package contains all the necessary nutrients and growing medium for the seed. The information on the site was in need of a proofreader's care, so I contacted the owner with a cheeky offer of words-for-seeds...and she accepted! In this "Year of the Tortoise" I'm in, nothing happens fast, so that is as far as we've got with the idea. Watch this space! - oh, and visit
I'm looking forward to some lettuce for my tortoise, so to speak...

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Magical memories

Steve wore a leather farmer's hat, which he soon changed for a smart pork-pie with a feather; I wore a straw hat which made my head itch; Alexander had a black top hat with blue band; and William wore a sherriff's hat, with its badge freshly glued back on. (Both boys later tried on almost all the hats in the two large hat-boxes provided.) We also carried a plant. All this, in response to an invitation to a 65th birthday party, and the promise of MAGIC! And indeed, magic there was, of varying kinds: from balloon-animals, to card tricks, to mind games. There was also the more special, lasting magic of meeting new people; learning more about acquaintances; and seeing the delight of our children as they drank it all in. As parents, we are called to create memories with and for our children; and that party was such a time. Happy Birthday, Cynthia.

An aside: the party reminded me of a line I once heard, "I've been to a marvellous party..." It was recited by a fellow school-girl, in a tipsy voice, at an Eisteddfod or concert...
When I searched for the words, I found a rather drawn-out song by Noel Coward; but this particular part is the verse I recall:
I've been to a marvellous party
I must say the fun was intense;
We all had to do
What the people we knew
Might be doing a hundred years hence...
We talked about growing old gracefully,
And Elsie - who's seventy-four -
Said, "A) It's a question of being sincere,
And B) If you're supple you've got nothing to fear” -
Then she swung upside-down from a chandelier!

And I couldn't have liked it more!

From: ]

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


A small but beautiful bottle of flowery perfume; a pair of shoes; a box of eye-shadow...I can count on one hand the things I have ever won. And now I can add one more: a story-competition. I can't put this win on a shelf, or wear it; but I can feast off it, off the encouragement and inspiration and fresh determination it serves up.
The story was about "My Writing Journey"; and right now that journey has brought me to a very creative place. A key part of this place is that there is time: time to write, and time to read. I am learning to take time, and use the time, and save time... I have also been reminded of just how powerful encouragement can be. When last did you encourage someone, or say "Well done!"? I have resolved to do it far more often. Won't you take the time to join me?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Colour my world

"You're here to bring light, bringing out the God-colours in the world. God is not a secret to be kept..." I love this image of "bringing out the God-colours"! It seems so creative and hopeful and joyous. I can picture a half-forgotten image from a children's book, where the illustrations are black-and-white line drawings, and then in the story someone comes along with colour...In my mind's eye, I just can't quite see what the pictures were about; but I have a clear sense of the delight, the "rightness", when colour was added... God is definitely all about colourfulness!

I've just remembered a song by Petula Clarke (it used to be my intro music when I was on Radio Helderberg.) Her words capture something of the feeling of those "God-colours":
"Well you can colour my world with sunshine yellow each day; well you can colour my world with happiness all the way. Just take the green from the grass and the blue from the sky up above; but you can colour my world, just colour it, with your love."

Let's resolve to live "full-colour" lives!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Urban Voice

I'm a bit behind, so it's hard to know where to start...
Last Sunday saw the announcement of a new name for our church: Urban Voice. The choice reflects our aim to reach out to our community, in all ways, but most especially by talking about Jesus. We had a fun celebration with lots of song, baptisms, people telling how they heard about Jesus; and afterwards a braai and water slides for the kids! Everyone helped; interesting groups formed as old and new friends chatted and shared stories.
One boy's face stayed with me all week. He came to tell me he'd hurt his elbow, but I couldn't see what was wrong. As he walked away, I saw the ugly pink wound on his dark skin where it had been rubbed raw. I got him some help, and he stayed close by. I couldn't communicate with him, which troubled me, especially as he seemed to have some kind of intellectual disability. I could only be kind; and ask people to follow up during the week, trying to find out his circumstances...
As I write this, a teenager is in the news for setting fire to his teacher's hair. This occurred here in Cape Town, and the learner has been suspended. The teacher has been too traumatized to return to work, and says she hopes to be transferred. Listening to the story brings back all the old feelings of hopelessness and helplessness that I encountered towards the end of my decade spent teaching at high school. By the end, I really felt victimized by some learners. A bleak period.