Saturday 26 September 2015

FMF - Why Doubt, but Believe in the John Mark's around You

Joining Five Minute Friday, for Five minutes of unedited writing on the theme of doubt! GO!

South Africa is a rugby nation, its been in our blood since way back when. Since Nelson Mandela called the Rugby Captain Francois Pienaar and told him we gotta win the world cup and we did! And then in 2007, we did it again. Nothing joins people together quite like sport does, it makes neighbors friends, strangers family, sport is strange like that. But last week when we watched South Africa's opening rugby world cup game end in a horrific loss to none other then Japan, who never won a world cup rugby game since 1991, people lingered on the bad. It's something I dislike about people, people are quick to criticise, quick to tell jokes, make fun and mock. When these are peoples lives, they dont just play a world cup to win, they play because they love the game. 

 I always think about this response when I read the story of John Mark. Sure he got scared and left Paul and Barnabas on their missionary journey without him but Barnabas insisted on giving John Mark a second chance, while Paul insisted on letting him go. This disagreement turned out for the good, John Mark became a leader among the believers and eventually Paul and him were reconciled. But we shouldn't give up on people too quickly, after one meeting, one appointment, one phone call, one rugby match or missionary journey. Tonight the Boks, our rugby team laid in to Samoa and beat them hard, yip people will be praising them tomorrow. But what really matters is when you stand by someone or something even when the outcome was not what you expected and you can celebrate who they are even if the losses.


Linking with Kate M 

Thursday 24 September 2015

Singing of Your Wounds

Tonight, we begin the fast of the Biblical feast Day called Yom Kippur (Leviticus 23). We rejoice in the reality that our amazing Messiah Yeshua took our sins and paid the ultimate price for our redemption, complete. Yet, we live in obedience to the word and observe the beautiful feasts God has given to us, aappointments, anniversaries, meeting times where we are called to receive special blessings that flow from God's own time calendar. This afternoon as I sat I was overwhelmed by the very real Many named Yeshua who took on a death that we should of bore. The depth of His love  overwhelms me, the Man and the God who gave it all. God and I have a speech, a song of sorts that stirs between us, its called poetry and in this moment we spoke. I wanted to share it and wish everyone who will be fasting, many blessings!

I softly slip away, close the door behind me, barefooted, I steal away.
I come in to this place and kneel. Surrounded by such Love, You take my breathe away. You.
I now know while I’m here, surrendered and open hearted, open handed, in love with all of You.
I know now that I no longer have to hold my eyeslids tightly shut, I can peer up into Your once blood stained face.
I am not unaware that here where I stand, my feet touch the ground and I loved deeply because of Grace.
I see You Yeshua and boy do I love You. You.
I am not a fool, I smile in the knowledge that I can live free all because of You. Grace.
And I know now more than ever that when You pulled the cross and thought of me,
when Your heart beat fiercely for the pain I should have bore,
for the sickness that scarred my body, leaving me and hanging on to your flesh,
for the fatherlessness I wakled with for 28 years, for the separation that forced my soul
in to despair, for all of it and so much more – for every blow at the hand of man,
for this and oh so much more, I know that You took it all and Loved me still in the midst of wounds and all.
I know that the sun will fall and the clouds will hang like curtains as I whisper evening prayers.
Yom Kippur will fall, a time to afflict the soul
and yet I know, this year is special.
Gosh, how much I love You Yeshua.
Many kneel to confess, to fall down on broken knees for what is already ours. Salvation.
I hear You whisper, come and dance with Me. It’s time to dance, it’s time to rise, it’s time to be all we can be. Rise up my Love and come away with Me.
How many times You have told me – this Yom Kippur is about the
revealing, the crowns on locks of hair of children called only by Your Sacred Name.
It’s about the revealing of Your choosing, sons and daughters of God and if it were not so,
You would not have told us so.
It’s time to rise alive.
I am not unaware but more convinced than before, not only for our redemption and sin
did you take on sin for us all but for complete reconciliation to a Loving Papa,
did you bear the cross, broken wounds and all.
Confession should be done, with Salvations Author we should already be One.
Tonight as the curtain falls, Heavens Tabernacle will open and Papa’s Heart will
be blazing for His children.
For reconciliation You came and lived, so that we could be deeply Loved, deeply enjoyed,
deeply cherished and adored by a Loving Papa – this is why You gave Your all.
My Brother, You opened the door, welcomed me in.
You’re home now sister, come with Me.
Papa sat in that special rocking chair, His feet gentle touching the ground and with one jump
this child climbed in to Papa’s Loving Lap and slept. Papa. You.
For this Love, Yeshua my Messiah, You gave Your all and tonight this Fall Feast,
You call us to give our all, for the sake of the call, the sons and daughters trumpet call.
It is time, 
redemption is ours, salvation has been settled.
Our Home is on its way, we can no longer live as orphans when You gave us everything we need to be made whole.
Daddy, help us fall in to the call of a Fierce Love that gave His all.

Monday 14 September 2015

Finding Self, in the Kitchen!

Whenever I statrted cooking up a storm in the kitchen I would think of the Irish novelist Marian Keyes and how she cooked to overcome depression. Interestingly enough I am lately finding myself as in therapeutically in the kitchen. 

My food journey or should I say food adventure begun almost a year ago. I had put on a lot of weight and was batling with out of control food cravings due to the hormonal treatment I had to have because of illness (think Menapause at 28 years old for real!) Anyhow I had walked through the treatment for some time and after my 30th birthday I visited the homepath I had seen a few years earlier. She is always nice to go and see and I was brought up on strict natural medication, no chemicals and radical junk, my mom always whipped us off to their friend a homeopath whenever we were sick. So I learned about natural medication from a very young age. Anyhow, this homeopath put me on a strict sugar - free, gluten - free detox for 6 weeks. Strangely enough I knew that God was calling me to do this, to put aside all sugar and all gluten from my diet. Boy the first 3 weeks were hard, my chocolate addiction hit me hard and I was freaking out so I started to investigate the world of natural, sugar free eating. The world opened up to me in a way that was startling! I found myself exclaiming - wow this is possible! To live life this way was totally possible, so when my detox was over I committed mentally and emotionally to a sugar free, gluten free lifestyle.

Its amazing how Father had already positioned me for it. In 2011 we had hosted a raw food chef down here in South Africa and we were already cooking with coconut oil and juicing everyday. My husband and I have a modest food budget every month so we make it work, but I can honestly say I have never been happier. My food cravings went away, my weight dropped, my skin started to shine and I felt happier. Yip, I will still pinch a piece of hubbys choccie every few months and then when my throat burns and I realise how happy I am without it I try and steer clear of it.

But recently, through the dips of neck injury and much reflection, silence and this quite peaceful place I am finding myself, finding me and this gigantic creativity in the kitchen. I have had people suggest I start selling goods but after some thought I realise that to sell what I want to enjoy takes the enjoyment out of it. Unfortunately or fortunately for me, I cant do both when it comes to food. I dont consider myself a culinary chef, I consider myself someone who loves to eat healthily and is enjoying the new things I never made before!
This weekend I made falaffel from broad beans, yummy stuffed chicken with a healthy raw chili tomato sauce and this evening I made a raw basil pesto (from brocolli) layered some yummy fish in it with hone glazed carrots and mashed potato. Tomorrow I may just try out this recipe for raw strawberry cheesecake made from cashew nuts, that has been calling my name for a while! 

The point of my post is almost like a journal - I remember this moment and how it feels. To love standing in the kitchen and creating. Each new dish is a creation, its not cooking and as I turn the batter round and round in the bowl its done in rest and in reflection. I am so grateful. I dont want to box this and sell it, I want to enjoy this awakening and to do what I am doing right here, to find myself. To find and enjoy Yeshua in everything I make, in between the dishes and soft chocolate, guten free batter that makes muffins. In the yummy fishy basil pesto that cascades over the house, in the dance of the kitchen. Its become a holy place, a holy space where its just us, a peace so deep, its rest. Its a sacred space....where I see His smile and know how much He loves me and how pleased He is to know me. Eighteen months ago I started art classes and through these classes I found a different side of myself I never knew existed, and now outside of art class, the artist in me is deepening. I told my art teacher - I am not an artist! I am just here for fun! But now it is as though I need to stop running and just enjoy the undiscovered awakened places that blossom like trees in the springtime. 

I am having fun and heres to some more adventures and lots more treats, yum!

Wednesday 2 September 2015

Exclusive - The Most Impressive Woman I Ever Interviewed by Rena Pederson

The Most Impressive Woman I Ever Interviewed
By Rena Pederson
(Rena is sharing her thoughts with us today exclusively here and her voice is so amazingly caring and powerful, I am so excited for you all to be reading this and to be inspired by the life of Suu Kyi!!)
I would say she is the bravest woman I ever met, but there are brave women struggling in difficult situations all over the world, so perhaps it’s better to say she is the most impressive woman I ever interviewed.   Her name is Aung San Suu Kyi and she won the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to bring democracy to the long-suffering people of Burma. She’s sometimes called “The Titanium Orchid” because she is tough and resolute and fearless.  Although she has been on the cover of Time magazine seven times, most people do not know her story, so it is my honor to share it with you.
How did an editorial page editor in Dallas, Texas, end up interviewing a heroine on the other side of the world? The newspaper stories about her Nobel Prize in 1991 inspired me to go to Burma — and to keep going back.  At the time, Suu Kyi was being held under house arrest in Rangoon by military dictators, cut off from her husband in England and their two young sons. To stay occupied, she played Bach and Chopin on the piano for hour after hour, alone.
I immediately sensed this was someone extraordinary.  Suu Kyi was Oxford-educated, spoke four languages fluently and read Les Miserables in French. She tutored her guards about Gandhi and meditated every day. She famously defied soldiers ready to shoot her by walking straight into their line of fire without blinking. It was only one of many times she has risked her life for freedom.
What made this remarkable woman tick, I wondered. She had the looks of a Vogue model and the guts of a general.
To find out, I traveled to Burma in 2003, which by then had been renamed Myanmar by the ruling generals. At that time, no press visas were granted by military authorities and journalists were arrested for interviewing activists.  I worked very quietly and carefully for nearly a year by long distance to arrange for a diplomat to escort me into Suu Kyi’s home to interview her.  Technically she was supposed to be free from house arrest at that time, but the reality was that she was harassed by soldiers or hired thugs at every turn and there was a barrier of armed guards in front of her home on University Avenue.  Access to her home was restricted, so I resorted to the subterfuge of accompanying a diplomat to meet “The Lady.”
She proved even more intimidating than British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and more charismatic than many of our American presidents.  We had a thoughtful exchange for more than an hour.  When I asked if she had been scared by a recent attempt to kill her, she replied with an arched eyebrow, “Scared? If that’s their goal, they haven’t succeeded.”
Courage is in her DNA.  Her father fought for independence from the British before he was assassinated. Her mother became ambassador to India. Young Suu Kyi was taught to do her duty to her country at all costs. And she has.
As I left, I asked her if I could do anything to help her. “Yes, shine the light,” she said. “Don’t let people forget us.”
Who could say no? 
 At the time, 75 percent of the people lacked electricity. Journalists were routinely imprisoned in what were called “dog cells.” I went back over and over again for the next decade to bear witness to things that tourists don’t get to see: children working in tropical sweatshops, lepers with little hope of help, motorcycle couriers who zoomed out of the “Golden Triangle” drug fields at dusk carrying bags of full of heroin. The more I saw, the more I understood why Suu Kyi’s mission is so important.  I wrote many editorials about the democracy struggle and now have compiled my research into a book, “The Burma Spring: Aung San Suu Kyi and the New Struggle for the Soul of a Nation.”
I discovered dozens of incidents where Suu Kyi’s life was in serious jeopardy, but she would not give up, she would not let go.  More than once, her car was battered by thugs with pipes and sticks while she was travelling to campaign events.   During a brief period of release from house arrest in the mid-1990s, she was trapped several times in her car by soldiers for long periods – once up to nine days -- without adequate food or water.  She not only kept her composure, but stuck to her principles of non-violence and kept going back out. That is true grace and grit under pressure.  Even after scores of her supporters were beaten to death all around her during the Depayin massacre in 2003, she still talked about the need for forgiveness and reconciliation. That’s extraordinary.
Finally freed from 15 years of house arrest in 2010, Suu Kyi promptly won a seat in Parliament. Western investment is now welcome, so companies like GE, Coca-Cola and Ford have joined the Gold Rush. Because of that, many people mistakenly assume Burma is a success story.
But there is no happy ending yet.
Generals still control the government. Corruption is systemic. Journalists are still being arrested — one was beaten to an unrecognizable mass recently and shot to death.  Students protests for academic freedom are being shut down by brute force.  Christian crosses are torn down and Christian populations attacked.  Deep-seated prejudice against Muslims is masked as patriotic nationalism.  Fighting in ethnic areas continues. Women are raped by soldiers with impunity.
The United States and other Western nations eased sanctions in 2012 after the transitional, quasi-civilian government began a series of economic reforms.  More than 500 corporations have rushed in to invest more than $50 billion.  Ford, Coca-Cola, Heinken, Gap, Hilton hotels, and even Kentucky Fried Chicken are setting up shop.
 But now reforms have stalled and it’s becoming clear that human rights are in serious jeopardy again.   This year is a “hinge moment” as Burma prepares for general elections in November.  The world needs to keep up the pressure on the government leaders – all former generals – pick up the reform pace.  More concessions should not be made until benchmarks are met.  For example, constitutional changes must be made to reduce the 25 percent of seats guaranteed to the military in Parliament. Restrictions must be removed that block Suu Kyi from serving as president.
Aung San Suu Kyi is not a perfect person, but she is a necessary person to keep reforms moving the right direction. Yes, she can be impatient and lose her temper and yes, she can be stubborn, but usually about the right things — the need for nonviolence, religious tolerance and rule of law. She is the heir to Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela when it comes to non-violent change. Without her example, much of the change that we are seeing in Burma would not have happened.
A truer transition to democracy in Burma this year would send a powerful message of possibility to others living under authoritarian rule in Southeast Asia.  It would inspire more women in male-dominated societies to raise their voices for justice and opportunity.   Not everyone can go to Burma to meet Aung San Suu Kyi, but we can all be inspired by her to be bolder for our beliefs.

Rena Pederson is author of “The Burma Spring: Aung San Suu Kyi and the New Struggle for the Soul of a Nation.”