Poetry, Prose and Parable.

Life Can Only Understood Backwards but It Must Be Lived Forwards Life Can  Only Be Understood Backwards but It Must Be Lived Forwards ― Søren  Kierkegaard | Life Meme on ME.ME
Quote: Soren Kierkegaard. Image me.me

Christmas 2020 is now just a memory and the door has closed on the year that was. The New Year of 2021 has arrived and with it all the hopes that it will bless us in the ways we most need. At this time of year, and particularly on New Year’s Eve, I am filled with nostalgia. I have experienced this feeling since childhood; while everyone else is reveling, I have this funny feeling, and it is a strange feeling. I think it is because I know what has happened in the past but what lies ahead is unknown. I feel this despite my very deep and personal Christian faith; I know that God is always in control and that His unchanging nature and promises provide the grace and resilience to live life forward, since that is the only way life can be lived.

For as the river does not backward flow, forward must life daily go.

Still, I recall New Year’s Days when there was not an inkling that loved ones would receive cancer diagnoses and be passed from this life in a few short months, that marriages and families would be smashed and unable to recover, that loved ones would be killed in accidents, that homes would burn down or just a year ago, that a virus would turn our lives upside down and globally exact an enormous toll on physical, financial, social and emotional well being.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and with the wisdom of hindsight life can begin to make some sense, although for much of life we may never understand why it had to be so. However we must accept that it is and with that acceptance move forward in grace and hope.

So I share some of my thoughts for the New Year and hope that they may speak to you too.

#Make the most of each day. All our days are a gift of God’s grace.

#Look for the beautiful and the good.

#Be kind and gracious to yourself and others.

#Build emotional, physical and spiritual resilience.

#Count your blessings.

#Live in Faith and Hope, even when everything you see might tell another story.

#Choose to be happy.

2021. May you have the grace and courage to live it well. Happy New Year.

Poetry, Prose and Parable.

There’s more than one way to skin a cat!

For cats and cat lover’s I am sure the saying above will not be a favourite, however the saying really has little to do with cats. It has more to do with the idea that there is more than one way to find a solution to a problem and any of these ways can be equally successful.

We run into problems when individuals begin to think that only their way is the right way and simply will not even entertain that the perspective of another can have merit. It is a sure fire way to destroy relationships, whether they be of personal, business or governance nature and whether they be in the home, the community or on a global scale.

Regardless of age, gender, race, religion or any other variable you might like to consider, life does have some rules which apply to us all. It is sort of a karma thing. I have observed many times that people who refuse to yield, people who must always be right and people who cannot accept that there is more than one way to do something, usually end up losing much more than if they had been able to surrender some of their personal power for the sake of a peaceful resolution.

If we can open our minds to the possibility of a range of ideas and solutions and work together with other people towards peaceful resolutions it is quite possible that both the cat and we may save our skins.

Poetry, Prose and Parable.

The LA Street Angel: Mandelyn Reese — #free #freedom #love #butterfly  #romance...
Quote: Thich Nhat Hanh. Image The LA Street Angel.

Free Love Poetry by Estelle D.

If love it is you have to say that you feel for me,

Don’t hold too tight, lest I should fight,

And struggle to be free,

Don’t clip my wing to keep me grounded,

But let our love on Trust be founded,

Give me space to fly and soar and roam,

Have faith that I will find my way home,

For as the bird returns to the nest,

Let your love for me be,

A haven of rest.

Copyright © 1999

Poetry, Prose and Parable.

All the lonely people; where do they all come from.

Beatles lyrics from Eleanor Rigby 1966.

Loneliness Quotes - ”Loneliness is not lack of company,...
Image: Marriage.com

Loneliness, my Art of Living addresses loneliness on pp.29-31. The article written in 1956 describes loneliness as the most devastating disease today. Fast forward to 2020 and we have what experts refer to as a loneliness epidemic; throw in some covid and a year where most people have felt socially isolated and basically it is a double pandemic.

A quick Google search will reveal some sobering statistics; the ones provided are from 2018. I expect 2020 statistics will tell and even grimmer tale.

So here we are, in all our fast paced world, technology providing connection as never known before and loneliness, especially in our youth and the aged, running at levels close to 20% of the population.

Social isolation and loneliness - Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Health effects of
Social isolation, loneliness in older people pose health risks …
isolation, loneliness Research has linked social isolation and loneliness to higher risks for a variety of physical and mental conditions: high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and even death.Apr 23, 2019.National Institute on Aging (nih.gov)

Loneliness can be thrust upon us due to circumstances beyond our control; moving to a location where we know no-one, losing our closest companion, health issues which change our ability to get out and socialize or simply getting old and feeling left out and left behind. These types of loneliness demand the resilience of inner fortitude. Max Ehrmann, the poet who wrote Desiderata had some wise advice.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.

It is true that we can be in a roomful of people but feel very lonely and conversely we can spend much time alone yet never feel lonely; it really is to do with nurturing strength of spirit. Much loneliness is self inflicted. My Art of Living article says Self inflicted loneliness is the most soul-searing, yet it is the easiest to dispose of. The cure it prescribes is to do something for others for seldom can a heart be lonely if it seek one lonelier still.p.29.

Truly, the world is wonderful yet, at the same time, can be a lonely and frightening place. Living is messy and we don’t have a lot of control over many of its fortunes or afflictions. We cannot fix the world; that is in the realm of God, but we can do the good that is under our noses to do; we can reach out to the sick, the frail, the lonely, the aged, the lost, the disenfranchised and the discouraged. I bet if we do this we will not become a loneliness statistic.

Poetry, Prose and Parable.

Grace and gratitude for parents; Five-session class through April 2 -  Westminster Presbyterian Church
Image: Westminster Presbyterian Church

The Grace of Gratitude

The inspiration for today’s post comes from The Art of Living, p.25. This article explores two very beautiful words and concepts which are close to my heart.

Grace, a Biblical word which literally means unmerited favour; it is what God extends to each one of us; for whether we recognize it or not, we are all recipients of God’s goodness.

And Gratitude, which is the art of receiving gracefully, of showing appreciation for every kindness, great or small are virtues well worth the effort to cultivate.

Our response to recognizing we are the recipients of Amazing Grace is to be gracious, graceful, generous and grateful for all of the blessings of life from the least to the greatest.

The attitude of gratitude is not a once off or passing sentiment and it does not express itself only in lofty outpourings. On the contrary, it is in the myriad of little things that the grace of gratitude is best employed. The sincere thank you; the quiet compliment, the acknowledgment of a service rendered, kindly words, a warm smile.

Gratitude is an encouragement; something which everyone needs. More relationships have failed because daily acknowledgment of appreciation and gratitude for all the little things which make up the daily grind is neglected. A once in a while expensive gift or night out is poor compensation when a person feels invisible because all the little things they offer as gifts to the other are not noticed or appreciated.

Gratitude is something of which we cannot give too much. In fact, the more we practice gratitude, the more we will find for which to be grateful. It is on your smiles, thank-yous, words and gestures of appreciation that your marriage, home, family, children and by extension your workplace and neighbours build their philosophy of life.

Grace and Gratitude, may they go with you through each day; they are companions to love and happiness.

Poetry, Prose and Parable.

A Garden and a Library

To jump-start your imagination … read – The Observer Online
Image: The Observer Online

Almost 20 years ago my father passed from this life. It was the task of my siblings and I to empty the old farmhouse; our family home since 1938 and the home we had all come to straight from hospital and left the day we married.

As anyone who has ever been involved in this task will know, it is both physically and emotionally exhausting. One of my jobs was to clear the office and the library. Each grandchild, 33 of them, was gifted a book from the library and families chose books of interest for their own libraries.

Among my choices were the two books pictured above. Keys to Happiness published by Reader’s Digest in 1957 and The Art of Living; Reader’s Digest 1958. Both these books are old but intact, they have that old book smell and their pages are browned with age. But recently they spoke to me, as my books in the bookcases do, they said, pick me up, get me down and read me again. And so I am. The books are filled with short stories and snippets of wisdom which embrace all areas of life.

Best Quotes and Sayings about Books
Image: Skip Pritchard.

The interesting thing about the Keys to Happiness and The Art of Living is that the contents, although written over 60 years ago, contain gems of wisdom about life which do not change. The world has changed rapidly but people and their basic needs remain the same. Often we get caught up in the fast pace and the race to success but neglect the very principles and attitudes which enhance life and bring contentment and happiness. For the next days and weeks I will be reading the stories in these books and sharing some of the gems of wisdom in my blog posts.

Poetry, Prose and Parable.

The Colour Purple.

My Jacarandas.
15 Pictures Of Jacaranda Trees That Will Make You Weak At The Knees |  Jacaranda tree, Flowering trees, Beautiful tree
Image: Jacaranda trees Pintrest

I have always loved trees and have planted many. Often I have not been able to stay in one place long enough to see them mature. When hubby and I bought our forever home, one of the things I hoped for was to have a beautiful mature tree in the yard. My preference was for a poinciana tree or a jacaranda tree.

Pin by Mhtbodyguard on Painting in 2020 | Royal poinciana, Poinciana,  Flowering trees
Image: Poinciana tree Pintrest.

So imagine my delight when the home we purchased had not only a lovely jacaranda tree in its backyard but also one in the adjoining neighbour’s yard. Every year around this time we live in a beautiful purple haze. It is indeed a gift.

Royalty in Bloom: Poetry by Estelle D.© 2010

Canopy of purple,
Royalty in bloom,
Showering pastel petals,
While beneath a springtime carpet settles,
Dying to the earth,
As new green leaf is given birth,
Behold the Jacaranda!
Robed in Royal splendour,
Marvel at your station,
In the order of creation
Receive the gift.
Royalty in Bloom!

Poetry, Prose and Parable.

Like a tree planted by streams of water.

Blessed are they who hope in The Lord. He is like a tree planted near  running water, That yields its fruit… | Beautiful nature, Beautiful tree,  Beautiful landscapes
Image: Pintrest

I cannot count the number of seeds, seedlings, plants and saplings I have planted. As any farmer will tell you planting is an act of faith; it is the expectation and hope of a crop which will yield well and be profitable. And as any farmer will tell you there are many variables which can impact the success of a crop, yet still the farmer keeps on planting.

Many trees are planted which the planter never sees grow to maturity. We plant tress for future generations, we plant trees for the environment, we plant trees for birds and wildlife, we plant trees for shade, we plant trees for the fruit and crops they will produce and we plant trees for the sheer beauty of them. So if you want to invest in the future; plant a tree.

The psalmist (Psalm 1: V1-3), compares the person who meditates on God’s Word day and night to a tree planted in a perfect position which yields fruit and prospers. If we want to invest in the present, the future and eternity, the psalmist advises that we plant the Word of God in our hearts.

It seems like a pretty good deal to me.

Psalm 1: 1-3 | Etsy
Image: Etsy.

Poetry, Prose and Parable.

River red gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis), growing near the town of  Daylesford, VIC, Australia | Eucalyptus tree, Australian trees, Australia  landscape
Image: Red River Gum: The sheer magnificence of an Australian Gum Tree: Printrest.

A Poem for Trees Poetry by Estelle D.Ⓒ 2020.

Mighty, mighty gum tree,
Standing so majestically,
For a hundred years or more,
Could you but speak and tell,
Of all the things you saw,
Fire, flood and drought,
The season's endless turnabout.

You're a home for the birds,
And the koala too,
Shaded rest for the kangaroo,
As you raise your limbs,
To the heavens high,
You purify the air, so that we don't die,
You accept the full heat of the noontide day,
While under you in peace I'd stay.

And I feel the energy that you possess,
Your strength, your power, your wonderfulness,
And I mourn for man, who in his vanity,
Has dulled his senses to the wonder of a tree,
And in arrogance, he cannot see,
That this tree is just as important as he.

Poetry, Prose and Parable.

The Mango Tree.

The Mango Tree at Mayfield.

As teenagers my brother and I went to the the 1973 Australian film The Mango Tree. As I recall it wasn’t a bad movie and it was set in locations familiar to us. It was with this same brother that I recently revisited the old farmhouse and took this photo of the mango tree, as you can see loaded with fruit; around Christmas time there will be loads of ripe mangoes to enjoy.

I remember my mother planting this tree. It was grown from seed, a Bowen Mango, back then a new variety whose fruit was stringless. My mother nurtured the seed into a small sapling and planted it where the old mango tree had been. The old mango tree was the common variety which produced lots of fruit but it was very stringy and less flavoursome than the new Bowen variety.

Since fruit trees grown from seed take about 7 years to fruit, my dear mother never saw fruit on this tree; cancer had cut her life short. But over 45 years later this tree stands proud, producing crop after crop of beautiful mangoes. And this is why we should never stop planting trees, especially those which bear fruit. They are a memory and legacy of our life which blesses others year after year long after we have passed from this world.

I am trying to find that 1973 film of The Mango Tree as I would like to watch it again just for old times sake! But for today I will enclose my mother’s recipe for Mango Chutney and hope some of those mangoes will find their way into chutney!

Mum’s Mango Chutney.

Ingredients.
24 green mangoes
500gms raisians
1kg sugar
250gms preserved ginger
125gms minced garlic
6 small chillies
600 mls vinegar
good pinch of salt
Method.
Boil sugar and half vinegar to a syrup
Add other ingredients and the remainder of the vinegar.
Boil to a good colour - about 2 hours.
Cool a little and bottle into sterilized jars.