Category Archives: Life’s inspirations

Learn to be more #mindful with a free online tool – #Instagram

Have you checked me out on Instagram? Not? I’ve been finding this Social Media platform most useful. Although I must confess, when I first joined I did so solely that I can ‘online stalk’ someone there too.

I mean that (online stalking) in the most positive light of those two words. Cause let’s face it; some online personalities literally ask you to follow them everywhere. Most of these people, who are obsessed with the collection of followers, usually label themselves: blogger, writer, social-media-butterfly or all of the ‘above’. You get the type?

Any-hoe, I decided why ever not? After all,  Instagram was the perfect platform for my new endeavor, which was to post one motivational picture per day. Alas, it was yet another New Years resolution I could not keep. Here we are a year and some months later and I’ve been getting back on Instagram. You could say I’ve newly discovered my cellphone camera. The truth is a bit deeper than that.

A post shared by Sarina (@shiningseeds) on

Inspiration is all around us. Instagram is a free, fast and easy tool to share that inspiration with the world. In a mission to have something to share on that platform, I’ve become more mindful of my surroundings. It is often the small things in life that we overlook.

As I sip my morning cuppa, I'm reminded to enjoy the small things in life. #mindfulness #coffee

A post shared by Sarina (@shiningseeds) on

Sometimes the inspiration does not come in a neatly wrapped photogenic scene. Sometimes a little editing or creation of a picture is required.

One crisp morning the very first words I heard as I switched on my car radio were these: “What are you waiting for?”

It is quite amazing what happens when we merely pay attention to our present tense moment. Yes, mindfulness.

The little angel figurine which hangs on my bedroom mirror ‘prompted’ me to share something, after I’d not done so for a few days. A newly discovered photo-editing app and a recently watched You Tube video lead to this snippet:

Perhaps this post is a change of perspective, you were not expecting.

Life is a journey.

A post shared by Sarina (@shiningseeds) on

No, it’s not all selfies up in there. As I said on a recent post, it is all about how you use a platform. In an attempt to look for the beauty in the mundane, some of my friends post stunning landscape, city-scape and nature pictures.

So, what are you waiting for? Come check out @shiningseeds on Instagram and let your own surroundings inspire you.

*This post has been the seventh day of ‘it does not need to be perfect‘, a series currently running on this blog.

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

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10 Inspirational movie quotes to make your day

“I see dead people”, whispered the little boy, in the movie ‘Sixth Sense’ to the shrink played by Bruce Willace. If you were watching this for the first time, you are practically on the edge of your seat. Popcorn is flying in your mouth. Perhaps you have the unhealthy habit of chewing your nails, as the scene changes.

Stories have a real impact on how and what we think. They become part of us. They teach us. They inspire us. I’ve said this before, inspiration is like food for the brain.

Hence, in no particular order, here are 10 inspirational quotes from the big screen.

1. Titanic (1997)

“I’m the King of the World”

Screamed Jack Dawson, played by Leonardo Di Caprio as he leaned on the tip of the Boat. Somehow, this dirt-poor artist had made it onto the most luxurious ocean liner of the time. It is a declaration of triumph. The line has been quoted so many times, it has become a cliché. It’s the line to use when we overcome our struggles.

2. The Terminator (1984)

“I’ll be back”

Oh yes, baby! This is way motivational. It is the ultimate line to use when something has gone wrong and you need to pick yourself up and try again. This was originally spoken by Arnold Schwarzenegger in his role as the Terminator.

3.  Gladiator (2000)

“My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”

All the times I’ve seen this movie, this particular line gives me goosebumps. In the scene, Maximus is forced to pull off his mask and reveal his identity. He claims his truth and declares his purpose.

To conquer this thing called life we must journey to find out who we really are. It is only then when we find our truth and calling. This is the line, which speaks to us to become masters of our Destiny. It is beyond inspirational.

4.  Finding Nemo (2003)

“When life gets you down, you know what you gotta do? Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming”

Sometimes, we need to remember to just move on, to just keep it together for the next few seconds and the next few seconds after that and so on. Take it step by step. Moment by moment.

5.  Dead Poets Society (1989)

“Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.”

Robin Williams starred in this 1989 movie about an English teacher in an all boys school. The above quote is not only a good summary of the movie but one of the most inspirational lines in moving picture history.

6.  Lord of the Rings, Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

“Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.”

Lord of the Rings is one of those movies, which are played repeatedly on TV. The above line comes from a scene with the Elf Queen Galadriel and Frodo. Moments before she said:

“This task was appointed to you, and if you do not find a way, no one will.”

Talk about epic, inspirational movie moments. Not only does this tell us that even everyday people, ordinary people can change the world, but also that there are certain things that only you as a person can achieve. Only you can become the master of your destiny.

7.  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

This is one of Dumbledore’s savvy insights. Who am I to argue with the great Wizard?

8.  Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983)

“Many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”

Sometimes a shift in perspective can shed much light on a situation. Things may not seem as dark and gloomy from a different angle. A solution may just be around the corner. And like a butterfly which can not see it’s own wings, so some people can’t see how amazing they truly are.

9.  Lion King (1994)

“Oh yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it you can either run from it or learn from it.”

I vote you learn from it.

10.  The Matrix (1999)

“There is no spoon”

 

I’ve saved the best for last. You may think what is so inspirational about this specific quote? In the movie, Neo (played by Keanu Reeves) is told the above quote by ‘the spoon boy’. It is fundamental in Neo’s realization that the ‘computer created reality’ is not the real reality. Anything is possible, and he starts creating his own reality.

In the same manner, ‘the real’ for you may be quite different from ‘the real’ for the Dali Lama for example. Much of what we perceive to be real has been shaped by society. The way we think about everyday things is governed by societies rules and expectations.

It’s a hard concept to explain. It’s something you need to get. While I’m on my way, I’m not there yet.

There you have it, I hope you enjoyed this list of movie quotes. What are your favorite movie lines?

*This post has been the sixth day of ‘it does not need to be perfect‘, a series currently running on this blog.

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

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What a bird thought me about opportunities

“Knock, Knock.”
“Who’s there?”
“Bishop.”
“Bishop who?”
“What do you mean, Bishop who? You seem to have a birdy loose up in here. To be more precise a Southern Red Bishop”

Lately, I’ve been getting a visitor. He’s been knocking on my window. How odd, I thought. A stunning bird that I’d not seen in these parts has been knocking on my window. The fellow seems to have built a few nests in my husband’s fruit tree. So I took out my husbands Roberts Bird Guide (that’s a book to identify birds of the area) and found that we have a Southern Red Bishop who has decided to make his home here.

It is somewhat odd because this specific bird’s natural habitat is marshy grassland and wetland. Since I live in an urban area, not close to any dams or marshy grasslands it’s quite odd that this fellow seems to have found a home here.

Then again, we are experiencing a terrible drought in the area. Watering plants have been made a felony, so to speak. Thus, we have been giving our trees water from the washing machine and shower (which is not a wrongdoing). We also have four pet birds, whose chirping attracts quite a lot of wild birds here, including my new ‘knock, knock’ friend. The leftover bird seed also serves to feed the wild ones.

It gives an entirely new meaning to the phrase, ‘when opportunity comes knocking’, doesn’t it? The little Bishop has had to adapt to new circumstances due to the drought.

It gives me pause to think. Can I identify new opportunities in my life?

His appearance certainly seems the right opportunity to write a blog post. I’ve also taken the opportunity and snapped a few pictures. You’ll need to excuse my poor photographing skills, the little fellow takes flight when I get too close. Armed with only my cell phone camera it has been hard to get a better shot. But, at least I got a relatively nice picture. Considering that the first rule of good photography is that you need to photograph with the light not against it, I’ve not been able to take any good pictures from within the house.

southern-red-bishop-on-wind
There you go. Sometimes the universe gives us the most subtitles of hints. The small reminders! The little things, we so often overlook. The wind whispers. Do you hear it speaking? This time it has asked me to not overlook the opportunities that come knocking, even if it are only the small ones – such as natures prompt to write a blog post.

What opportunities have been knocking on your window lately? Have you opened that window to let the opportunity in?

p.s. This post has been the fifth day of ‘it does not need to be perfect’, a series I’m currently running on this here blog.

 

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

Find her here:


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15 Motivational Songs to kick A**

Are you still keeping to your New Year’s resolutions? You just could not resist that slice of chocolate cake, could you? It is officially the second month of the year. The month of little chocolate shaped heart candy and other red-coated sweet things. No one blames you.

I happen to be of the opinion that each day brings with it the opportunity to make a new resolution. To start fresh. Just because you slipped up on your diet does not mean you can’t lose that weight.

blue-headphones-on-grass-wi

Perhaps you are struggling with a project you started. Perhaps you are meaning to start a new project, but feel that something is holding you back? Perhaps life has thrown you a curve and you really need that little extra bit of motivation to get you positive.

It may just be the time to take the bull by the horns and tackle that task. Whatever challenge you are facing, even if it is just getting up out of bed in the mornings – because even that can be hard at times – I’ve got you covered.

Here to get you going is my list of motivational songs.

We start this list with songs from the 70’s.

1.    Stayin’ Alive – Bee Gees

1977, was the year the Bee Gees graced us with the classic, ‘Stain’ Alive’.

“You know it’s all right. It’s OK.
I’ll live to see another day.”

What’s not motivational about that? This timeless tune, makes me want to get up and do something? How about you?

2.    Don’t stop me now – Queen

1978, brought us one of Rock music’s masterpieces by legendary band Queen. ‘Don’t stop me now’, is a feel good song, guaranteed to get you out and going. I guess there would be a difference between a ‘feel good song’  and a ‘motivational song’, but I think this one covers both those definitions.
From Queen’s large selection of classic rock, it’s hard choosing only one song. 1977’s ‘We are the champions’, 1990’s ‘another one bites the dust’ and 1991 ‘the show must go on’, defiantly also deserve to be in the collection of motivational songs.

3.    Always Look on the bright side of life – Eric Idle

1979 saw the release of an annoying little jingle ‘Always Look on the bright side of life’, by Eric Idle (who is part of the British comedy group – Monty Python). This ear-worm is so irritating it will get stuck in your head at an inevitable time. Which is what makes it so good. Did someone cut you off in traffic? I’m sure that part which he whistles could easily be replaced by the words ‘F**k You!’ repeated four times. It is the ideal tune to whistle while your kid is sitting on the back seat. And in case you were wondering what the bright side of being cut off in traffic is; Well firstly, if this did not cause an accident you can be thankful for that. Also, you have a car to drive to enable you to be in a situation to be cut off in traffic.
I don’t know so much about the music video, though. I guess some people would be offended by it. Oh well! Always look on the bright side of life. . .

4.    I will survive – Gloria Gaynor

There is something strangely motivating about the 1979 classic by Gloria Gaynor, ‘I will survive’. Not only is it the ideal post break up song, but it really fits many other situations too. Your boss thinks you just can’t live without him? Have you to go without chocolate for a week?
Yea, go on and sing it “I will survive”, you are feeling better already, aren’t you?

On to the age of neon colors and wild curly hair, the 80’s, which was not without its own digital flavor of music. Motivational songs of this decade included:

5.    Don’t stop believing – Journey

Yes, as unbelievable as this may be, ‘don’t stop believing’ was originally released in 1981. It was released in 2009 as digital download content, after having been covered by the movie ‘Glee’, which is why it appears to be such a current hit.

6.    Eye of the Tiger –  Survivor

‘Eye of the Tiger’ by Survivor has got to be one of the best motivational classics out there. Released in 1982, it held the number one spot on the Billboard Top 100, for six weeks. Among others, it was the theme song for the Rocky 3 movie.

The 90’s brought us:

7.  Conquest of Paradise – Vangelis

Released in 1992, the lyrics to Vangelis’ ‘Conquest of Paradise’, don’t actually mean anything. The words are from a made-up language for the movie ‘1492: Conquest of Paradise’. What makes this piece of music so inspirational is the melody. Just listen to that and not feel encouraged – I dare you. Go on! Can’t do it, can you?

8.  River of Dreams – Billy Joel

1993, Billy Joel brought us the ‘River of Dreams’.
If ever “in the middle of the night, you go walking in your sleep”, the “River of Dreams” would be the place to go. What gets me about this song, is that I think many of us are “looking for something so hard to find, it can only be seen by the eyes of the blind”. Serious! These are some lyrics.

9.  Jimmy Cliff – I can see clearly now

1993, also brought us the Jimmy Cliff classic, ‘I can see clearly now’.
Again with some seriously good lyrics:

10. Smash Mouth – All Star

Released in the year we could all officially party like it’s 1999, Smash Mouth’s, ‘All Star’ tells you that despite your shortcomings you can still achieve great things.

11.  Creed – Higher

Also from 1999, Creed’s ‘Higher’ takes us to a place “where blind men see.” While the song actually refers to lucid dreaming, the lyrics are very inspirational. They motivate you to “go there” and make this world a better place.

Other mentions of the 90’s

There are some songs of the 90’s that have just been overplayed. While R. Kelly’s 1997 hit, ‘I believe I can fly’, is defiantly the 90’s inspirational anthem of the decade – could you really listen to that again?

Bon Jovi’s 1997 song, ‘It’s my life’, seems to be on every other list of inspirational songs. While I can’t dispute the motivational aspect of this particular piece of music, I just really don’t like it. Maybe 1997 was  not my year for music.

two-people-playing-guitar-a

Beyond 2000, a new millennium inspired songwriters to write even more inspirational songs. Well, way beyond 2000 – because I’m skipping an entire decade here. It’s not that 2000 to 2009 did not have any inspirational songs, to me none of them really stick out.

12. Pink – Perfect

In a world where so many of us (especially us women) have so much self-doubt, suffer from depression and body image issues – this song, this song, ‘Perfect’ by Pink released in 2010. Honestly this song! It is very inspirational. When I’m feeling a bit over emotional this song can even bring tears to my eyes – that’s how good it is.
I fell in love with the song after reading THIS poem. Awesome poem – everyone should read. Great song.

13. Kelly Clarkson – Stronger

What is it about breakups that make songwriters write such inspirational lyrics? Like the Gloria Gaynor song (above), Kelly Clarkson’s 2011 hit, ‘Stronger’ hits a home run in the inspirational department.

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, Doesn’t mean that I’m lonely when I’m alone”

14.  Rachel Platten – Fight Song

The lyrics may be filled with clichés, but, clichés are clichés for a reason. I love this song. Rachel Platten’s 2014 hit, ‘Fight Song‘, defiantly tops the charts of ultimate inspirational songs.

“I might only have one match, but I can make an explosion”

This song also happens to be the reason I was inspired to create this list in the first place.

15. Katy Perry – Rise

With all the inspirational Katy Perry songs released to date, I simply had to choose the latest number ‘Rise’. It was released last year (2016) in the spirit of the summer Olympics – or so Katy Perry claimed. Now, if you listen to the Christian Conspiracy Theorists, it’s another story. If you see this as being sung from the point of view of Lucifer, then the song takes on a completely different and scary meaning.
However, if the Devil has his Fate to fulfill, we, each one of us also has our Destiny. (There is an argument between the difference of Fate and Destiny, which I’m not going to go into now, but …)
Other inspirational Katy Perry songs include the 2013 hit ‘Roar’ and the 2010 Song ‘Firework’.

The longer I contemplate the list the longer it is likely to get. Inspirational songs have been topping the charts for decades.

What inspirational song do you think needs to be added to the list? What music from the period 2000 to 2009 should I have included? Talk to me I’m listening.

p.s. This post is the second day of, it does not need to be perfect, a blog series I’m currently running on this here blog.

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

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Dreamer a little Dream

Last night I had the strangest dream. While I did not sail away to China, in a little ol’ boat to find ya – just to hear all about your laundry ¹, it defiantly caught the limelight of my memory. Again.

A clever Dilettante once said that one is not to hit publish on every thought that ever entered one’s mind. So, I’ll spare you the fall down into the rabbit hole of my subconscious mind. I do not want to discredit any of Freud’s theories; however, Slumberland is a place much richer with a wider array of artists than merely our subconscious mind.

I’m not making any sense. Again.

When comfort is offered for pain in my heart*, it is welcome from whichever obscure source it may be.

Let me drop trying to sound fanciful.

Inspiration is all around us.

Sometimes the wind whispers beautiful life truths. Maybe it’s a little melody, which you keep on hearing.
Sometimes Angels, God, the Universe, Spirits, Demons speak to us in our sleep. Sometimes we need to listen. Sometimes we need to be vigilant about their ulterior motives.

Sometimes, we forget how connected and disconnected we all are. So just for today, I will be grateful². I recognize that the tears on my pillow* are a sign that I have not entered a state of apathy. There is strength in vulnerability, this world does not understand.
Sometimes the truth is harder than the pain inside³ and it is at these times that we should not forget to dream big.

dream-big-flower

(Just to prove that inspiration is indeed all around us, I found the little sign board above – handing on someone’s wall. I decided to snap a picture)

Notes:

¹ Regurgitated lyrics from Mathew Wilder’s hit, break my stride

² That’s one of the five Reiki principals

³ Erasure made that phrase famous in their song, Sometimes.

* Feel like singing Kylie’s song “tears on my pillow”?

 

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

Find her here:

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Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho – Writers Quote Wednesday

During the A to Z challenge in April, I discussed how important inspiration is in maintaining our mindset. This is why I want to join in today’s #beWoW or Writers Quote Wednesday blog hop. This hop is all about writers quotes which inspire us. Instead of simply giving an inspirational quote, I would also like to discuss and review the book from which that inspirational quote comes. I have recently finished reading “Veronika Decides to Die” by Paulo Coelho.

Paulo-Coelho-quote-be-crazy

“Be crazy! But learn how to be crazy without being the center of attention. Be brave enough to live different.”
― Paulo CoelhoVeronika Decides to Die

I picked up this book for two reasons.

  1. I thought reading up on how an internationally bestselling author handles the subject of suicide would be good for my own book research.
  2. I have read books of this author before and felt I needed something in his style of writing to get myself into a more positive thought pattern.

Set in Ljubljana, Slovenia – Veronika is a twenty-something with a steady job, no lack of admirers and loving parents. One day she decides to end her life, for what seems to be utter boredom with life.Her suicide fails and she wakes up in a Mental Health institution called Villete. There she finds out that the pills she took to end it all, have damaged her heart. She has mere days to live. In the week that comes, she goes on a journey of self-discovery.

In “Veronika Decides to Die,” Author Paulo Coelho questions the meaning of madness. Reading you find yourself pondering the mundane aspects of the every day. Is following your dream really so crazy? Or rather, is conforming to society’s norm not the death of your spirit?

“Haven’t you learned anything, not even with the approach of death? Stop thinking all the time that you’re in the way, that you’re bothering the person next to you. If people don’t like it, they can complain. And if they don’t have the courage to complain, that’s their problem”
― Paulo Coelho, Veronika Decides to Die

In true Paulo Coelho fashion, the writing is poetic and expressive. It tends to be somewhat verbose if you are not yet accustomed to his style. Sometimes it feels like the author is breaking out into a spiritual sermon, all in the disguise of fiction. This makes it a somewhat slow read.

The story is loosely based on events in the author’s own life. In the afterword, the author tells you how the book touched the life of his readers and fellow countrymen. Reading a passage from the book helped one senator pass a law, which was being held back the previous ten years. This law forbids “arbitrary admissions into mental institutions” in Brazil.

“Veronika Decides to Die” gets a 5 out of 5 Stars from me. Despite its wordiness, I found the book to be genuinely inspiring.
Just check out some of the readers favorite quotes in the YouTube video below.

 

About the Blogger

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

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#WeeklySmile, Little Seedlings and a bucket of #inspiration

What made you smile this week? What made you happy? Perhaps you dragged along the week like any other, half on auto-pilot while life flashed in front of your eyes. Well Darlings, I’m here to tell you that I’m alive and if you are reading this so are you.

What made me smile this week? – the #WeeklySmile

That’s easy peasy – my husband walked in the door yesterday and declared, “You owe me a crate of beer and a bottle of whisky”. The best handyman on planet earth has fixed my PC. WHOOP! Now who can advise me on a good type of whisky to get?  Seems, after all, it was my power supply which got fried and not my hard-drive.

contagious smile

Little Seedlings

Broken PC or not, my backup plan enabled me to get my Little Seedlings planted into the fertile soil that is the Internet. It is a feature which is motivating me to focus on my own personal growth on a daily basis. For those who don’t know (and since I didn’t really make some big announcement), Little Seedlings is a daily feature I’m running on my Social Media. They provide a fresh snippet of inspiration or something to think on. The goal is to have one for each of the 366 Days of 2016.

In case you missed out here is your:

Bucket of inspiration

 

 

 

 

 

I especially like this one as a food for thought for today:

 

You can also find all of these along with the previous Little Seedlings on my Facebook Page.

 

What has made you smile this week?

 

Will you still take my second hand Christmas?

Have you ever given a thought to the true meaning of Christmas? No, I’m not talking about the cozy Hollywood version they like to show on the TV this time of the year.

“And it’s not like the stories, it’s never like what they said” (Ben Haenow – Second Hand Heart)

In truth, a version of this post has been sitting on my PC for a while now. I’ve been struggling to find the right combination of words for such a delicate matter. Christmas has become something that Christians and non-Christians celebrate. Its meaning diluted between Saint Nick, shopping and family bickering. Throw in the sickening dose of terror and world politics that has been dominating our News of late – is it really all that surprising that people feel more Depressed – especially this time of year?

Christmas is just no longer Christmas!

Christmas to many of us has become “wrong”. We may each have our own reason; why it does not feel like Christmas.

Truthfully, my Christmas stopped feeling like Christmas the year my parents got divorced –  many moons ago. What once was the only night of the year; the family made an effort to cease-fire in the war-zone that was our home – was now a – fake it till you make it affair.  I was a grumpy and depressed teenager – even more so at Christmas. The only thing that really got me into Christmas spirit was the smell of the Christmas tree, which brought with it its own aroma of what life should be. With time the tree got replaced with one less aromatic, as I took on the traditions of my husband.

Even Christmas changes

When you are rooted in your year after year traditions the loss of a loved one for example makes all things seem wrong for many Christmases to come. We like the comfort of the crazy routine. We resist change like a bad-smelling batch of eggnog.

The thing is – we cannot stop change. We cannot change the circle of life. Christmas will come around and we can either mope, because “it does not smell like” or “it does not feel like” or “insert your own does not… like” Christmas. The problem is that we have lost touch with the true meaning of Christmas.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”. John 3: 16

This verse in the bible has become synonymous with the true meaning of Christmas. Let me break it down…. We got the word “Loved” up in there. No matter what the circumstance may be, I encourage you to wrap the gift of love. We reap what we sow. Plant the seed of love in the heart of your neighbor. Help the old woman cross the street. Give a tin of baked beans to the hungry. Hug a person who looks sad. Write an encouraging blog post. Sing a carol to the grumpy guy or gal and make them smile. Smile at the people you pass in the street. Forget about things being perfect.

What matters is the time spent with loved ones laughing and crying if need be.

Should you find yourself alone, remember the words “for God so” preceded the word “loved”. We are never truly alone.

John-3-16

Earlier this week my brother who lives in Europe, sent us a picture of him cooking dinner. This was not any kind of dinner. This was dinner for the flock of Syrian refugees they now have where he lives. For privacy reasons I can’t post the picture here. On it is my brother behind the stove – doing what he loves. Here are people who have lost everything. Their homes, their livelihood, loved ones and so much more – things we take for granted every day.

This Christmas take a look at all the wonderful things around you. Take a look at the people you are spending it with. Yes, there may be those missing gifts around the tree (which would have been for those now, no longer with us). But there are presents for the people you are spending it with.

I enjoy looking at the joy in my daughter and her cousins faces as they open their Christmas goodies. Beside children, some people are gifted at displaying happiness when opening presents. These are the things which make my heart smile. There are so many things to appreciate. I have a table with food to go sit at. There are people to hug. These are such wonderful things with which my life has been blessed.

This Christmas I encourage you to look for the beautiful things for which you can be grateful, whether you are Christian or not. If you can’t find any here are some you may have missed:

  • You are able to gift a stranger with a smile
  • You have cloths to wear and food to eat
  • If you are reading this you are literate – which places you better off than a huge chunk of the human population

I could go on and on here, but really I want you to complete that list.

What are your plans for Christmas? What things can you add to that list?

(Linked up with #1000Speak  & Ronvan’s #BeWow )

Are you the white elephant?

From one of his business travels my husband brought home a wooden carving of a mother and baby elephant. My toddler was delighted with the new addition to the household furniture and thought this the ideal toy.  “No, that’s daddies” my husband told her, something she did not accept. “Daddy and me” she said. “Okay, it’s daddy’s and yours – but it remains up there!” my husband said – having put it out of her reach.

Since then she has been quite fond in pointing towards it and telling us “Daddy and mine”.

It literally is a woodcarving of an elephant. That made me think of the expression “the white elephant in the room”.

wooden-elephant-carving

The “white elephant” refers to any object that is simply taking up space and is not serving any purpose. I have several of these items in my house. Mostly I am thinking of all the home exercise equipment we possess. What a waste of my living space these things have become. Yet we always think that they would still be useful – if we could just make the time. Mind you, they are never in use for more than a day or two. How easy it is to come up with an excuse, not to exercise.
I have joined the gym. Paying my monthly fee is a motivating factor. Additionally my medical aid offers me a rebate if I attend a certain number of times a month. I have nothing there to distract me from exercising. The gym instructors will motivate me to get my full workout. It’s strange how a little change of scenery and motivation can make all the difference!

On a different level, we sometimes feel like “the white elephant”. A waste of the space we occupy. I’ve been there. I go there, perhaps more often than I would admit. It takes an active effort on my behalf not to go there. Like going to the gym – I actively need things to motivate me not to go into “the white elephant” attitude about myself.

Depression is the kind of monster that will suck you into it. However if you are reading this, I’d like to tell you – here right now as your eyes and brain make sense of the very words you are reading – and the process of understanding is being formulated in your mind – right now you are not a waste of space. The interactions you have with people on a daily basis – they matter. You have the ability to choose to be a positive force within this universe – despite the suck fest of monsters that try to tell you differently. Even the white elephant serves a purpose. The unused exercise equipment in my house reminds me to go to the gym and not let my fees go to waste.

Those of us with depression and inferiority issues – we often have compassion so great, it becomes too much to handle. We have insight into the suffering of the human spirit – which others lack. Compassion and insight are the very things; this burnt and suffering world needs to heal.

That wooden elephant – which simply sits as a decoration beyond my daughters reach, inspires her imagination. Each other day she will bring her little drawing book and ask me to draw her a baby elephant and then the mother. When I tire of drawing her elephants, she will go to my husband and ask him to draw elephants. When they choose an animal involved creative activity at the daycare – she will choose the elephant.

The elephant drives her to try to draw her own elephants. This has her learning a new skill, which will be very beneficial to her in later life. Who knows to what other wonderful and positive things this will lead?

So do not think you are just a “white elephant” taking up space. You are a living, breathing spirit connected to the collective that makes up the consciousness of this universe. If a carving of an elephant can do so much in a little child – then how much more can you who has the ability to think and connect with others do?

Find a way to shake off the darkness and start shining. The world needs you, here, right now.