Monday, June 24, 2013

Aging in the Dance of Life

I came across this photo recently and it is an illustrated reminder of the elderly among us who still have the vibrancy of youth in their hearts.  As bodies give in to the eventual process of growing old, the essence within is timeless and hardly seems compatible with the aging form it lives in.  I found this quote by Doris Lessing which fits this very thought: 
"The great secret that all old people share is that you really haven't changed in seventy or eighty years.  Your body changes, but you don't change at all.  And that, of course, causes great confusion."

The dance of life, if we are allowed to live through all its rhythms, ends in a reflective waltz holding close past memories and present day living with future challenges.   A life, long lived, has many stories to tell, wisdom to share and a witness to changing times and world events.  They teach a younger person a few facts about life, attitude and purpose.  It is inspiring to be around an older person who still has a twinkle in their eye, a humorous outlook, solid advice to give and look forward to the tomorrows in his or her life.  What their age is seems insignificant, a figure that is irrelevant as they push themselves to the next level of interest and motivate themselves to try a new thing or ponder a new idea.  They are involved with life enjoying each new day and being available as a friend to all ages.  Many have a deep faith in God, which is active and alive on a daily basis.  They have lived through tragedies, which could have sidelined them in life, but they persevered and came back stronger.  Even some into their nineties are still able to live in their own homes and capable of doing for themselves with limited or no assistance.  After a visit with a person like this, I walk away with a lighter heart by just being around them.  From my observance of these elderly, several things stand out which makes them exceptional. 

"Don't call me old!"
- Refuse to be old.... age is just a number and does not deter them as to how they should live their lives and go on to achieve goals using their energies to complete dreams and make new ones.
- Do not use age as an excuse.... they are up for the challenge and resist the easy way out.  They push themselves to learn and explore ideas in this fast changing world.  Age does not stop them in moving forward with their lives.
- Enthused about life... are positive in outlook and have developed the technique of "letting go" those things which stunt their inner growth.  They seek to have purpose and look for opportunities to be useful.
 - Pro-active.... have been habitual most of their lives with some form of physical activity and use preventative care in their health and foster spiritual well being.
Support system.... through the years, they have developed a base of friends and family, perhaps a favored pet to share their lives with.  They are of all ages, having a common bond in heart connection, which allows much laughter and a place to share their beliefs, interests and love.
- Overcomers.... There are those who are restricted in movement because of a handicap or illness that limits their physical abilities.  They might have financial hardships.  However, it does not daunt their spirit and soul, which exudes inspiration and encouragement to others.  They do not waste their time on complaints and what could have been but rather on appreciation of each day and finding the blessings of God, which unfold continuously in their lives.

There are different scenarios within the aging populace.  What I have just written is on the upside in the world of the elderly and I have met many who fit this description.  On the downside, there are those who have not fared as well, spending the winter of their lives with acute physical ailments as well as mental and emotional problems.  At one time, they may have had vitality in their older age but deteriorated in health due to accident, disease or a medical condition and have given up the fight.  Many are in wheelchairs with crippled legs and backs; others are crippled in mind with Alzheimer and Dementia; some are bed ridden, vacant in both body and mind.  Unable to feed themselves, they are dependent on others to stay alive. We do not live in a perfect world where hardships and suffering co-exist with comfort and wellness.

A common malady throughout the community of the aged is loneliness and depression.  It is particularly hard for an older person who has no family and may have outlived their friends and find they have no familiar ones in their lives.  They spend their days without a visitor and often lose interest in living.  A lingering faith may keep them going, but it helps when someone shows up with the love of God to express caring, to hold their hand and let them know that they are still valuable.

There is an encouraging scripture in 2 Corinthians 4:16, which states:  "So we do not lose heart.  Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day."   Many of you may know a familiar song, called "Morning Has Broken" - a beautiful hymn with a meaningful message about renewal.  We all have a new day every day and especially at the close of our lives.  Our spirit lives on, as it is ageless, eternal, even as the body withers and fades away for our destiny is beyond the mortal and lies in the divine bosom of God.

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light Eden saw play.
Praise with elation, praise every morning,
God's recreation of the new day.

"The Garfield 27 Studio" by Wolfgang, presents a beautiful video with artist, Ann Williamson singing.  Morning Has Broken was first published as a hymn in 1931.  The words were written by English author, Eleanor Farjeon to the tune "Bunessan", composed in the Scottish Highlands.

See you next Monday where we'll meet again at The Turn-Up Patch.  Until then, if you have the opportunity, hug an elderly - give them your smile and a little time out of your day in acknowledgment of their worth.

AND ALWAYS REMEMBER this great quote by Hilary Cooper:  "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Fraternity Called Fatherhood

The Fraternity of Fatherhood!  As it is with Motherhood, there is a select group of men throughout the world who share a common thread regardless of race, religion, culture and personal history and that is in being a father.  However, there is one thing in fathering a child and quite another to be a father.  As it can be with some mothers, so also with some fathers, where a child can experience abuse and abandonment.  There are many single parents due to death, in cases of divorce, absenteeism.  In such situations, a man can find himself in a dual role of parenting as well as a woman.

The focus in today's post is about the average man who enters fatherhood with limited knowledge in bringing up a child, but honestly tries to do his best.  They come with their own history of being fathered, which can be a negative or positive experience.  Whether parenting is in a single or shared experience; the responsibility, challenge, joy and pride in raising a child, increases the learning curve of inner growth within the dynamics of fatherhood. 

Why is a father so important?? A father is the framework of home in a child’s life.  A house in construction has the following important elements, which could run parallel in theory to that in father-child relationship:
 - The flooring is the foundation of love and commitment upon which a child stands. 
-  The roof represents a covering of protection over the child.
-  The upright beams surround a child in support and stability. 
-  The windows expose examples of conduct and beliefs on the part of the father, which directly influences a child.  
-  The door allows a child to explore and discover life within set open and closed boundaries.  

Surrogate fathers often step in to help fill in missing pieces of framework - they can be a grandfather, a stepfather, a foster father, even a favorite uncle or mentor who steps alongside to assist in nurturing a child's soul and guiding a child's spirit in faith and love.

Parenting skills increase as a father meets new challenges in the stages of growth of a child from infancy to young adult.  Throughout the years, a responsible father discovers his own capabilities, which places him in roles of protector, provider, mentor and encourager.  His influence is huge, his support necessary, his stability crucial in the importance of involvement and development in raising a child. He becomes an example in the way that he believes, which affects the way that he lives, instilling values in a child's life.  He juggles with the demands of work and family and learns the fine art in giving beyond limits.  A father learns what really is important such as his time, valued by a child in creating precious memories that last a lifetime.

I discovered a blog called, "Natural Papa" with a post on Fatherhood:  100 Ways to be a Better Father, which was written by Derek Marham.   The following is just 25 out of his list of suggestions:
-  Say I love you.  A lot.
-  Listen to your kids with all of your attention.
-  Hold your kids accountable for their actions and words, but don't use punishment to teach.
-  Leave your watch and phone on your desk sometimes.
-  Make a meal for your family.
-  Spend some time one-on-one with your child.
-  Admit you're wrong when you are.
-  Leave your work issues at your job.  Don't dump on your kids because you had a rough day.
-  Hugs and kisses are golden.  Be generous.
-  Let your kids make their own choices.  Sometimes.
-  Remember that kids mirror our actions, so watch what you say and do around them.
-  Parenting is a shared responsibility.  Jump in and do something Mom normally does.
-  Remember that everyone is somebody's child.
-  Give yourself a break.  I haven't met a father yet who doesn't make mistakes.
-  Unplug the TV and pretend it's broken once in a while.  Or hide it.
-  Go with your child to school once in a while.  Meet the teacher and ask how you can help.
-  Teach the value of service to others by volunteering in your neighborhood, church, or school.
-  Show your wife respect always.  Make sure your kids do also.
-  Take the time to really explain things to your children.  Don't just say, "because I said so."
-  Make amends when you're wrong or grumpy or harsh with your kids.
-  Get down on their level and try to see things as they do.  Chances are, you've forgotten what it's like.
-  Don't insist on conformity.  Let your kids follow their dreams, not yours.
-  Remember to let your children save face.  Embarrassing them in front of their friends is not cool.
-  Follow through on promises to them.
-  Give your kids responsibilities.

To read Derek's article in its entirety:

In conclusion, we have a spiritual Father of Lights who is not only the framework but also the heart of unconditional love towards us.  We are assured that His Love is unfailing and enduring as in Psalm 117:2 and as children of the Light, we are also assured that He will never leave us nor forsake us as in Hebrews 13:5.  God's mercy, forgiveness and grace covers mistakes made and allows a fresh start and a new day for renewal in strength, wisdom and overshadowing love in the embracing privilege of fatherhood.

I really hope that you watch a "Father's Day Tribute" video clip presented by rupi39. It is a wonderful completion to this message.  Using composites of several movies, the clip is delightful in showing how it can be between Dads and kids.....
You can view at:

 To all the great Dads out there who are ordinary men trying to make a 
difference in the life of a child...  HAPPY FATHER'S DAY   
from The Turn-Up Patch.   

Join me next Monday for a new posting for whatever message "turns up"!

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Dandelion and Change

I'll begin this week's message about a common weed plant known as a dandelion, which crops up in lawns, gardens and fields as if a common intruder.  Most are unwanted and gardeners dig them out, poison them and regard this flower weed as a nuisance, which spoils a carpet of green in their back yard.  I gave up a long time ago and let them have their way with my yard.  I started examining this bright little yellow flower weed and in taking photos, discovered their beauty. Like the domino effect, this led me to research the dandelion and I discovered what a valuable gift I had before me.  This is no common plant.... it's yellow petaled beauty gradually changes to fluffy strands of lacy white seeds, which become airborne in parachute style with any gentle breeze which comes along.

This message will gradually end up into a reflection about change but first, I'd like to list a few things about the dandelion in the hopes that the next time you see one, you will think of all that it does in God's 'thoughts' in the creation of a dandelion and also what it symbolizes.
Dandelion Flower Head
- Strength:   The name 'Dandelion' comes from Dent-de-lion, which is Old French for lion's tooth.   They have long, lance-shaped leaves and are so deeply toothed, they gave this perennial, herbaceous plant this name.  It is a survivor.
-  Endurance & Adaptability:  It is hardy, can live in most soils and grow most anywhere.
-  Enriches:  The deep taproot can break up the earth and bring nutrients up from below.
-  Beneficial:  It is curative and is used as a medicinal plant, rich in vitamins and minerals and also as a source of nourishment in salads, wine and tea.
-  Transforming:  The dandelion changes from yellow petals to white spokes of seeds, ready to become airborne with the wind.
-  Barometer:  It has a built-in barometer, which is common and reliable since it can close before rain or during gloomy weather.  The flower opens with the sun in the morning and closes in the evening. 

It is interesting to note that in theological symbolism, the Dandelion, one of the "bitter herbs", represents the Passion of Christ and grief.  The early Flemish and German schools mainly used this symbol in paintings of the crucifixion.

Dandelion Seed Head
 "There is nothing permanent except change".... Heraclitus 

 "For time and the world do not stand still.  Change is the law of life.  And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future".... John F. Kennedy

The above are several quotes among many regarding change. Change is the cycle of life and comes in many forms... it's a fact of this planet and of nature, of the universe.  We can be affected by change or we can effect change.  As a people, most changes that happen are expected but others enter into our lives as a surprise.   Changes can be in a circumstance or a choice or they are inherent; they can be external or internal; they can be pleasing, bringing joy or difficult, bringing pain.  Change can bring transformation in a dramatic way, as visibly seen in the dandelion, or it can be as subtle and quiet as silence.

Presently, many families are preparing for the change within their home.  Children, now young adults whom parents have raised and nurtured though the years, are now about to embark on their own as they graduate from High School; the first step into their personal journey of change.  They are like the seed head of the Dandelion, ready to fly with the breeze into directions wherever change takes them.  They learn to survive, become stronger, endure and adapt, ripening into maturity.  The ideal is to become enriched and transformed in the process of change to the betterment of themselves and a benefit to others.

Changes are numerous within the seasons of living, ranging from our health, relationships, careers and finances to events that occur either within our control or beyond our control.  And there is so much in-between as change ebbs and flows, decreases and increases in dynamics.  We hear about change of heart, change of mind, and change in attitude.  But there is one constant through it all from James 1:17, which is a favorite scripture of mine....

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change".  

I am so thankful that our Father of Lights changes not; He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  He is the "I AM" who is the embodiment of complete wholeness in which there is no lack.  He is our solid ground through shifting and rocky times in the movement of change around and within us.  We can be assured of His eternal strength and infinite peace, which remains changeless and sovereign.   It Is Who He Is.

The above clip is a wonderful Time-lapse sequence of the Dandelion flower filmed by Neil Bromhall over a period of one month from dandelion flower to seed head.  He also has created videos of various flowers in time-lapse sequence, which is beautiful to watch.  The music to this video is Attrition by Debbie Wiseman.
You can view this particular video at:

Thank you Neil  for combining your patience and talent with a camera to capture such beauty to share with the world.  The link to Neil Bromhall's website is:

Join me next Sunday, June 16 at the Turn-Up Patch for a reflection on Father's Day. 


Monday, June 3, 2013

To Inspire & Nick Vujicic

There are varied sources of inspiration for all of us.   It may come in the form of God's creation in His wondrous scenery or in the message of an inspiring person or in music or the thrill of a spiritual moment, which opens a corridor into more of God's Divine Presence.  The two photos below are a little illustration of what it can mean to view something bigger than oneself and can go on to inspire or stimulate the human soul into the awesomeness of life.  I took them last year when I had the opportunity of fulfilling a wish that was in my 'bucket list' (dreams of things to do) by traveling to Jasper, Alberta in Canada.  I had heard that a section of scenery that is on the highway between Banff and Jasper, called Icefields Parkway was one of the most spectacular on the Continent. It did not disappoint me, but rather left me in awe of the creation that exists around us.  

Columbia Glacier Icefield in Alberta, Canada

Abraham Lake in Alberta, Canada
I will elaborate more about this trip in a future post but for today, I want to focus on the word inspire and on a man who exemplifies inspiration.  To begin with, the word inspire has an interesting twist among it's many definitions.  Two meanings stood out among the others in dictionary explanation... they are:  (1) to breathe on; to breathe life into and (2) to inhale.   These are wonderful meanings as a two-way action.... one who gives (breathes on) and one who receives (inhale), stimulating motivation.  It can affect or touch another or even oneself in greater belief and hope for positive change in a personal way in the dynamic of inspiration.

Once in awhile, you come across a notable hero, who against all odds, turns life around and conquers adversity through sheer attitude, fortitude, faith and purpose.  One such hero is NICK VUJICIC who is making inroads in helping to encourage and uplift others in their daily living.  The power of being thankful in spite of his extreme disability and go on to enjoy life and be a light to other people is humbling.  Nick has a huge heart, big on God and big on purpose - his heart makes up for his disabilities and is a force in making a difference in the world around him.  Here are a few facts about Nick, which is on his website:

-  Nick was born on December 4, 1982 to Serbian parents and raised in Melbourne, Australia.  He was born with no limbs, the absence of arms and legs. His parents loved and guided him, doing their very best to keep him in the mainstream school system and gave him every opportunity to live to the fullest along with a brother and sister who are his best friends.
 - His early years were of ups and downs with his disabilities until he realized that he needed to be more thankful for his abilities and less focused on his disabilities. 
- At fifteen years of age, he sealed his faith in God and from there, has had an amazing journey.  He graduated from Giffith University at the age of 21 with a double major in accounting and financial planning. He has since become an international evangelist and motivational speaker, addressing over three million people in 44 countries, having spoken over 2000 times.
- He has appeared on television shows, written three books.... Life Without Limbs: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life .... Unstoppable:  The Incredible Power of Faith in Action.... and  Limitless: Devotions for a Ridiculously Good Life.  He has just launched his new book for children entitled "Give Me a Hug".  Nick also has made several motivational DVDs and starred in the short film The Butterfly Circus, which won awards in 2009 and 2010.
- He currently lives in Los Angeles, California and was married on February 12, 2012 and their son was born on February 13, 2013.  He and his wife share the vision of seeing people's lives changed for the better or touched in some way through Nick's story.

A few comments from Nick:  
"Whoever you are, wherever you’re from and whatever you are dealing with, I hope that you will be inspired by my story and my message. Please enjoy browsing around this website ( where I share with you my thoughts on faith, hope and love to encourage you and to help you overcome your own challenge.
Dream big my friend and never give up. 
We all make mistakes, but none of us are mistakes. 
Take one day at a time. 
Embrace the positive attitudes, perspectives, principles and truths I share, and you too will overcome."

The video above will explain visually about Nick and his storyIt is well worth your time to watch this clip, count your blessings and be amazed at what one person can do who refuses defeat.  It shows the inspirational influence that he has on others as the energy of his spiritual inner "breath", breathes on others to inhale, stimulating their spirit and soul for a new day of hope in their lives.  A quote of Nick's:
"If you don't get a miracle... be one!"
You can also view this video at:

Below are some links that will take you to Nick Vujicic websites, including his non-profit organization "Life Without Limbs" and his website, "Attitude is Altitude".  The third link will take you to the Butterfly Circus.  I encourage you to check out these links to find out more about Nick and his impacting mission in life.

Thank you Nick  for your incredible gift of bringing hope to others.  You have done far more with the spirit of your heart than many of us have done complete with limbs.  God has truly known you from the time you were knit in your mother's womb and He has graced us all by making you known to the world as His spokesman of Light in being an overcomer.

Join me next Monday for a new post at The Turn-Up Patch.  In the meantime, may inspiration make a difference in your life this week... either to inspire or be inspired!