Friday, August 16, 2013


A wire baobab graces the desk. Its sturdy trunk extends upwards into short, perfect branches. The artist has fashioned it so that the strands forming the "shell" of the trunk become the branches. Like the living tree, it is all of one piece; an organic form. 

Tonight I had a picture of how my tree can become my daily inspiration and organiser. Steven Covey uses the visual aid of "placing the rocks in the jar" to describe setting priorities. Place the rocks - the vital things - first, and you can fit in all the others too. The picture I had was of hearts or leaves, each with a priority written on it. These could be hung on the tree - placed in the jar - daily, or weekly... I visualize thin wooden painted shapes; but maybe I will begin with cardboard, or else I won't get started... 
I even have a name for it: Priori-Tree.
(If this idea goes global, remember you read it here first!)

Monday, August 12, 2013

For Kathy

How many ways can you say, "Hello, boys!"?  The variety might seem endless, and include a number of great movie scenes: mob boss greets muscle-men who have yet again failed to nail the hero; same hero surprises said muscle-men in final show-down; bar-lady addresses regulars (add "tiredly" or "sultrily" according to your preference)...I'm sure you can add many more.
In the real world - my real world - "Hello, boys!" is a greeting I often hear directed at my two sons. Grannies and granddads use it; Dad uses it; I use it myself. Just yesterday, we heard it, as the two boys and I arrived (late!) at church. As we moved up the path, we encountered a man pushing a wheelchair. The greeting, "Hello, boys!" came from the lady in the wheelchair; and it was only later, when I thought about how natural and normal it sounded, that I was moved to tears.
The words came from a dear friend who had been in hospital for two months after a stroke; a friend who has been in and out of "reality" for all that time. So "confused" had she been that all but a very few visitors were kept away; and now, here she was, about to enter a hall full of people, and her precious mind making the connection to these two young whirligigs she hadn't seen in months: "Hello, boys!"

I was so glad of that serendipity: the blessing of meeting Kathy as she arrived at church after such a long absence. A few minutes later, I drove away from church again, off home to complete some work while the boys went to their classes. The irony of it hit me: Kathy had just arrived, and here I was, rushing away. What had it cost Kathy and her husband to get to the meeting that morning? Why was I giving up that precious thing, the fellowship of the saints, to attend to the tyranny of the urgent? I could rationalize it in many ways; but I realized that such things must not be lightly reasoned away. For who knows when we may next be able to enjoy them?