Wednesday, January 31

How Weird Can You Be?!?

Confessions of a little chicken..

Confession:I have been guilty of stalking other people's blogs and I accidentally got on this woman's blog.Little did I know at the time that,by simply reading it,I would have had to consider myself automatically web tagged! Doh!I haven't actually been tagged, but so many of her blogpals have done this one and then gone on to say "consider yourself tagged if you have read this". So,tag yourself too,matey,if you are reading this!
THE RULES: Each player of this game starts with the ‘6 weird things about you.’ People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave a comment that says ‘you are tagged’ in their comments and tell them to read your blog. This is all good,but I am so incredibly weird I am gonna struggle to find only 6 things to share with you - but I'll do my best...

  • I make pretty decent pancakes but hate their smell and really can't stand eating I make them for everybody else and never eat them..mmm
  • My Italian literature professor once told my mom that she thought I was on drugs when I was 14 'cause I didn't use to wear make up or dress up fashonably(incredible but true!)
  • I once thought that putting beer on my hear on the beach would have given my hair extra shine. The outcome was unfortunately quite disastruous:by the end of the summer my hair was bright carrot orange!! In hindsight I think I should have had a pint at the bar instead!
  • I secretly enjoy cheesy chick flicks and have been known to occasionally cry to them too (like a baby)which,by the way,reminds me of my obsession for pregnant bellies..
  • I won't eat eggs if people make references to chickens or goofily flap their arms and make chicken noises..I am such a freak!
  • My parents found me with a boy in our bathtub together when we were 10...ops!Call it blissful ignorance and naivity,if you wish.

So is this weired enough for you or do you think you could do better?! Cayetana Altovoltaje, Baron Hashbrown,Jay, Rie&Tane, Neil and J-Mac --consider yourselves tagged!

Tuesday, January 30

Acrimony of a Passionate Word Lover

"Scrabble,the Gift of the Gab and Blue Eyed Injustice"
Now you guys have known me long enough to know that I love words. I can swim in a book, drown in a sea of words,I still secretly enjoy tv programmes such as Countdown and am always up for a game of Scrabble or Taboo...not to mention my blogging obsession.Call me 'saddo, but I love the way humanity has canonized random collections of letters and made them express emotions, states of mind, situations in almost every language. I thrive in searching, and eventually finding, the exact word I am looking for and, if the dictionary doesn't provide me with one, sure I'll make one up pretty swiftly (my mates know). Most of the time, because I am a "jolly foreigner", I even bluff so convincingly they believe it is a real erudite term and,for the sake of not embarrassing themselves in front of the rest of the group, shut up and nod in agreement...what a phony! (or maybe I should mention how polite and lovely my mates are to put up with my ridiculous accent and dubious vocab). Speaking of dictionaries, I have recently discovered this awesome online dictionary. It's "mint" as they would say in Salford. Its only downfall is that is an American website (no offence to my transalantic readers) which means that if you are after a definition of "colour" you are going to have to spell it "color" and so on... I don't like this story much, but I first learnt English from the Yankees and I would be an hypocrit to complain. All good and dandy until this morning I was looking for a synonym to the adjective "favourite", which I couldn't find, so I typed in "favorite" and the results were really quite shocking. Besides the expected "preferred", "best-loved" and "beloved" there behold appeared bizarre concepts such as "fair-haired" and "blue-eyed": what?! Where the heck did this idea of the angel-looking features become an idiom for sanctity, beauty and discriminating priviledges?! Besides, who the hell decided that angels are blond and blue-eyed?!This racist and frankly exploitative ex-colonialist ideal makes my skin crawl. Blame it on classical iconography? So what do you make of the wonderfully majestic South American black Madonnas? I rest my case cause I can feel my blood vassels swelling!!!
**To be Blog-tinued**

News on Mamma Morra...

Hey fellow bloggers,a brief update on my mom - she has just completed her second of six cycles of chemotherapy. She is such a darling,amazing woman of faith and in all her sorrow and pain she keeps on praising God and comforting every single patient on the ward - the woman is awesome! (after all, she is my mummy!!!) Despite the preannounced and inevitable side effects, she seems to be responding "surprisingly" well to the therapy.Thank you so much for your ongoing support and I would like to ask you to continue to pray for complete healing, competent and compassionate medical staff and sound roommates (last time she was in hospital she had to share a room with a loud-mouthed-ever-swearing old lady who farted so bad she would keep her roommates up all night..doh!;-) Ti voglio bene mamma.Get well soon!!!

Sunday, January 28

To Be Bountifully Exhilarated About Life

Enough,enough,enough!Enough of bitterness,resentment, "what-ifs". I am tired of carrying another big fat resentful person over me and I choose life, and life to the full. This morning I was on my way to church, running late for no particular reason other than I have been feeling far too depressed for a young woman who has witnessed the beauty of life time and again and God's faithfulness far too many times to be counted..and there I was dragging the big-
fat bitter woman on my shoulders. I got into church and I was,in so many words,sad. Then Neil spoke about a number of things I can't really remember, but I can certainly tell you of the moment when the penny dropped for me: if Jesus was stepping in your shoes, what would he do? Now, we are not a particularly "wishy-washy" Pentecostal gathering and although normally the 'What Would Jesus Do' thing creeps me out a little, this was an honest wake up call for me. What the pastor was encouraging us to do was not to take Christ out of his chronological and sociological context to fit our own purposes. More so, it was an invite to examine our story in the light of Jesus' teaching. Like if you are struggling for cash, Jesus ain't gonna tell you which investment plan to choose or which bank to rob, but he would tell you not to panic and to live a little bit more care-less-ly in the certainty of his faithfulness,care and provision. So when it comes to my personal troubles, I guess he would encourage me to see the forest (instead of banging my head against all of its trees!), to consider all the good past that has happened,that is happening and that will continue to happen but more importantlyI think he would tell me to get rid of the big-fat resentful bitchy lady I have been carrying around and to begin to dream big dreams again,soar like the eagles and to be extravagantly happy. And,unlike the Baron Hasbrown seems to think, I am one to rise up to the challenge EVERY TIME - and here is the evidence: this morning I wore my do-gooder t-shirt at church!!! Hence I shall rise to the challenge to live like Jesus and be EXTRAVAGANTLY HAPPY!!!*(Oh, and by the way,taking these pictures by myself was hilarious - I reccomend this method as a stress relieving escamotage to everyone!)

Thursday, January 25

The Persuit of Happiness

Running down the road against the freezing wind, I run and run to catch a bus I eventually missed. So I stopped, tried to recuperate my breath and initiated an expression of anger when an old man, dressed in rags, offered me a copy of the "Big Issue". I got my hand in my pocket grabbing those few coins, stretched my arm to reach his,close enough to brush against his coarse-purple looking hands. He was obviously cold so I went and got him a hot drink and something to eat. I am not writing this to make myself a super-hero, not at all. It is just that this small and apparently ordinary and insignificant happening, opened my eyes. The touch of my soft tiny warm hands on this elderly homeless person standing in the cold to make enough money to help him get by, widened the spectrum in my perception of my own circumstances. The running, the cheasing after the wind seem to have become a recurrent theme in my life recently. However, the stopping, the perceived failure, the slowing down, the change of direction is something that I had never taken into account as a desirable and necessary incident. I have spent my entire longevity seeking to be the best I could in every aspect of life. I have sought and tried and, although I have had a few recompenses, the pay-off as most frequently been what can be compared to a walk into a concrete wall, a slap in the face and the train of your life closing its doors and setting off into the sunset as you, dead-meat, stand still watching it go by. When this happens we, perfectionistic idealists, feel like as if the earth was going to open up to swallow us into a place of no return where the pain, although not much different from previous hurts, is too unbearable to allow the continuation of your existence. Last night I went to watch "The Pursuit of Happyness" with Will and Jaden Smith. To me it is a 9/10 movie, definitively worth watching. Masterly directed by the brilliant Gabriele Muccino (The Last Kiss; Remember Me) tells the real story of Christopher Gardener who, without going into too much detail ('cause this is so worth watching), teaches us a massive lesson about what happens to the "goodies" in our society:they are doomed (or appear to be anyway). However the whole story is a running because, as the protagonist narrates, "Jefferson must have been a clever guy to put 'the pursuit, bit attached to the right to happiness in the declaration of Independence". You see happiness doesn't come into microwavable-meals-style-packages. Not even Jesus said that if you would have followed the instructions and done good you would have received all you ever wanted (so much so that in the Beatitudes it is the poor and the afflicted who technically are the most blessed!!!). You know what stuff like this makes me want to carry on. Carry on doing good, carry on giving life your best shot, carring on seeing the good in humanity, carry on loving unconditionally 'cause even when you are perceived as doomed, the running towards coherence, honour and Love are worth the pursuit of happiness.

Wednesday, January 24

Ice Hockey,Cheesy Music and Manly Bonding

Last night we travelled all the way to Nottingham for an Ice Hockey match between our local team, the Manchester Phoenix and the home team, the Nottingham Panthers. The two teams are supposedly in high places in the British league (the Panthers are third and the Phoenix fifth but they are four game short of the other team) - this information is for Jay and yes,also to 'show off' a little and to let my mate know that I was actually listening to what he told me last night! I wish I could show you the picture of me wearing the team's shirt -when I had never even heard of them and I had played ice hockey about once in my entire life!!!(hypocrit? or was I just going for the FULL EXPERIENCE?!) The game was not that good - the Panthers slaughtered the very demotivated Phoenix, but the atmosphere was exhilarating. It was definitively a stress-relieving adventure and an experience that I would love to repeat. Thanks to Mike, Alan and Dave for taking me out. I had a great "man bonding" time - despite Mike's debatable taste in music! And let's hope that my analogy of the Phoenix will do better than our local team last night (5-2...doh!)

Tuesday, January 23

Non,Je Ne Regrette Rien!

When I was four my parents brought back an antique XIX century grammophon from one of their frequent Parisian get-aways. Although by that stage we already had LP vynil players and tape recorders (brings to mind this post about "Feeling older than we should"),this stylish looking old music box,was real box of delights. Maybe because the only discs we had for it were either classical or 30's French music, every time the grammophon was playing our living room would be transformed into an aristocratic Tzarist-era style ball room where imaginary cortesans and gentlemen of noble origins would dance elegantly at the sound of steady walzers and intellectual Bohemian artists converse intensely sitting in the sun on a cold afternoon outside a cafe in Montmatre like as if they had just stepped out of a Van Gogh or a poster by Tolouse Lautrec. My imagination has always been allowed to run wild! It is around about that time that I was first introduced to the magnific Madame Piaf, a real icon in French music. We all have heard chansons as "La vie en Rose" and "Je Ne Regrette Rien" - well, she is the rapturing voice behind them! I often think of my life as a movie in progress with flashbacks, crucial points, soundtrack and all. And, at moments like this especially, there are songs and sounds which accompany me through resounding in my head. "Je Ne Regrette Rien" is one of those at the moment. When your dreams are shattered, it is inevitable to feel feelings of dispair and resentment whereby one regrets past actions, emotions and situations. However, I am there with Edith Piaf: "The good and the bad I shall not regret; I will put the pieces together and start again!" Here is a rare performance of Piaf singing this song (courtesy of YouTube) and at the bottom are the lyrics and its litteral translation. Enjoy.

Non! Rien de rien ...
Nothing, nothing at all
Non ! Je ne regrette rien
Nothing, I do not regret anything
Ni le bien qu'on m'a fait
Not the good you have done to me
Ni le mal tout ça m'est bien égal !
Nor all the bad that is also good!
Non ! Rien de rien ...Non ! Je ne regrette rien...
C'est payé, balayé, oublié
It is paid for, swept off, forgotten about
Je me fous du passé!
I have been through
Avec mes souvenirs
With my souvenirs
J'ai allumé le feu
I have lit a fire
Mes chagrins, mes plaisirs
My sorrows, my pleasures
Je n'ai plus besoin d'eux!
I don't need them anymore!
Balayés les amours
Vanished the love
Et tous leurs tremolos
And I shake all the time
Balayés pour toujours
Sweep off every day
Je repars à zéro ...
I am start again from square one…
Non ! Rien de rien ...Non ! Je ne regrette nen ...
Ni le bien, qu'on m'a faitNi le mal, tout ça m'est bien égal !Non ! Rien de rien ...Non ! Je ne regrette rien ...Car ma vie, car mes joies
For it my path, for it my joys
Aujourd'hui, ça commence avec toi !
Today I start with you!

Monday, January 22

What Doesn't Break Us, Makes Us Stronger

I believe that the strength of every culture is found in their ideals, values and wisdom. I think you become part of a foreign culture when, not only do you embrace their life-style, but when you are able to recognise a common humanity in their proverbs and sayings. Pretty much every one who knows me is straightforwardedly made aware of my bubbliness, happiness and permanent smile on my face (yes,even first thing in the morning -- annoingly so!) but what can I say: I love life and I rejoice in such a gift! That's probably the same reason why when things go wrong for me they are always unexpected and ferociously painful. You all know by now that this past wee while has been a trying time for me (my mom's illness, the house on fire,etc..) but what do the English say: "Bad Things Always Happen in Three"?Well,guess you could say that I have had my three and my heart is shattered in pieces so tiny that even breathing seems to hurt. Yet there is a song resounding in my head on this astonishingly sunny blue-skyed day - Bruce Springsteen's version of "We Shall Overcome"(click on the link beside,it's awesome)...this 'heavenly, sound is resounding in my ears and my mind bringing me a comfort I did not expect to find, and making me believe that, in as much as I am hurting like crazy, I shall rise from the ashes like, as Ovid would have said, the Phoenix.
Last night I went to watch ROCKY BALBOA VI with a bunch of lads. What can I say: I love Rocky!Partially because I used to watch it secretly with my dad when I was little (it was our father/daughter bonding time..not really my mama's scene!), partially because he is a man who still stands for honour and good values. In Rocky 6 Rocco gives a rather profound metaphorical speech to his son in his predictably cheesy style. Please,don't judge me,but I was touched (awwww). Rocky says, "It ain't about how hard you hit,it is about how hard you get hit and still get back up and keep on moving forward". The journey to self re-discovery and recuperation is a troublesome one (hell,I know!) after a few train-in-motion-kissing punches in the face, one must look forward, aim not to miss the forest for the trees and retrive the beauty within. What doesn't breaks us, makes us stronger indeed.

Friday, January 19

When the Lights Go Off in Blackpool

Does anyone remember the Orange cinema advert about the 2003 New York blackout? In an ever so cheesey way,it shows the increased sense of agglomeration and community that rises alongside human tragedies. I kinda like that - because it talks about people and real emotions. The fierce storms that battered many parts of Great Britain yesterday made me reflect on a number of things. I had spent the best part of the morning at the office catching up with a number of people (friends and family alike) -- meanwhile bags and pieces of furniture were being lifted off the ground and blown up to our 8th floor window, creating quite a scene and a certain sense of giddiness and child-like wonder. Then the sky became darker and darker, bricks were falling on cars, people were being shifted about and roof tiles deadly hitting unsuspecting passengers. And then the caos, the panic, the mad rush home. 3pm: no trains running;3.15pm: no trams running;3.20pm:major motorways closed, busses derouted and many areas of town closed down. In all this, I couldn't help but admire the composedness of temperament of the Brits. I mean anyone who has been"stuck"(litteraly) on Deansgate for 2 and 1/2 hours(when normally it shouldn't have taken much longer than 15 minutes on the bus to get home), has got the god-given right to be enraged; but not the Brits. They sat there and patiently waited.Elliott Smith's Satellite is playing in my ears and in what appeared like slow motion, a young lad is helping an old lady crossing the road, two orthodox Jews are talking to each other standing outside a bar at the frindges of the gay village, a Sick girl, a Muslim woman and an a grey-haired man are making conversation and laughing graciously. I didn't walk home because I was too afraid of stuff falling off the roofs (not to mention the vertiginously high heals I was wearing), but I also found a great sense of calm and good feelings in witnessing the "peace alongside the storm". And I got time to reflect.
***To be continued***

Wednesday, January 17

Hands Up If you Read My Blog!

I know for a fact that there are a number of you out there who read my blog -- information deduced from a.the number of visitors; b.the number of friends or friends of friends of friends who "quote me back"..kinda spooky! So if you are one of my BLOG READERS--Put your hands up and say "HI" in an "enlightened thought". (Please)--and not "enlighted" as I had origianally written!Doh!
At this point,I would also like to express my thanks to my "regulars"(man:I feel like a local pub owner!)--the wonderful Cayetana Altovoltaje, the regal Baron Hasbrown and Bolton Fan,my little stalker friend. Without you I would have thrown the blog-writing- towel in a long time ago..or maybe not! (Because,afterall, this is all about EGO PUMPING!)Thanks for stopping by and keep on blogging!

Tuesday, January 16

A Little Respect! (Just a Little Bit,Just a Little Bit)

In as much as I dislike using public transport, feeling my ex-housemate would probably concur with me on, having to take the bus into town every day is revealing itself as an experience full of reflection,wonder and unexpected surprises. Generally filled with a fair mixture of 'stiff upper lip'newspaper-reading 'shirt 'n' tie'-wearing types,elderly passengers,idealistic students,unemployed wonderers and teenage parents with screaming babies,bus journeys could entertain you no end! What always strikes me is when I see, in the midst of neglect,lack of decency and respect, glimpses of civilization in unsuspected individuals who still seem to stand for what is good and beautiful in this world of ours.
This morning there had been a 'milk spilling' accident on one of the bus seats (before I walked in--just for those of you who were already prepared to point their finger at my legendary clumsiness);amongst the total indifference of passengers,driver and the guilty party as well,a little old lady got up,laid her newspaper over the spilling and made sure the driver was informed about the happening(not to mention that she warned every single on-coming-passenger!). Maybe there is something to be said about being old,repetitive and pedantic,but this lady showed,in my opinion,an admirable sense of civic responsability and respect. A couple of weeks ago I was watching the revelation of 2006 South African cinematography Totsi. Must say that I am a sucker for this kind of movies,but I really quite enjoyed it. Totsi tells the story of the homonymous protagonist,a young lad 'born and breed' in a disadvantaged suburb of Johannesburg, parentless,brought up on the street with the absolute conviction that stealing,murder and abuse are perfectly acceptable means to make ends meet. I won't tell you anymore,'cause if you haven't watched the movie,I don't want to be responsable for spoiling the surprise,but,again, this depiction of reality makes me reflect upon a behaviour that,if not as extreme as Totsi's, is radicated in all of us. Like the by-standers of "the milk spilling",like seeing an elderly struggling with their shopping bags and just passing them by,like meeting someone in the lift and not even bothering to offer them a smile,like those who watch the world catastrophically go by and remain silent thinking of the next Corry's episode..we are all at risk of developing the deadly postmodern syndrome of "it ain't mine,so why bother".But what if we were to seek a cure for this bullshitty indifference and claimed responsability for what is ours which,in those postmodern terms,is actually a great deal wider than "me and mine". It is the people I live with,the folks who live next door,my work collegues,the bloke selling "Big Issue" on the street, the milk spilling woman,the guy on the next blog,the increadibly annoying screaming baby on the bus and the list could go on and on and on..but I leave it up to your discretion and individual situations.
*On the subject,check out this intriguing post. Also as I was writing this post up I was reminded of Lilly Allen's video LDN. Enjoy,

Happy Birthday,Tinkerbell!

I nearly forgot!Doh!Today my wee sister turns 17--cannot get my head around it that tiny wet chick-like-cotton-bundle is turning 17..unbelievable!HAPPY BIRTHDAY,TINKLEBELL!
She doesn't know yet,but my mom got her the best present in the whole world:she has completed her first of six cycles of chemo and is going home today to surprise her! (How cool is that!)Re:My mom,thank you for your thoughts and support -- we could not do it without you!

Friday, January 12

Praying People

Dear fellow bloggers, if you are reading this, please pray for my mom who is going to be starting her six cycles of chemotherapy today - that she may be strong both mentally and physically and that God may heal her of the lymphoma and give wisdom and compassion to the medical staff.
Also,Lindsey, one of my friend's best friend's wife from Northern Ireland, has got a brain tumor and is undergoing a second operation today before she starts radiotherapy. She is only twentythree and,like my mom,has been amazingly strong and has displayed a great faith throughout her struggles. Please pray for her too. In God we put our trust. With all my gratitude, Ivonne

Thursday, January 11

"Mr Discontinued"

*Disclaimer:this post is going to be full of cliques-but what the heck! When my house caught fire on Chirstmas eve my bt broadband modem melted. Now, I had had that modem for nearly two years and it may not have been a gem, but it was efficient, reliable and good enough. Because it was melted beyond repair (to this day the stench of liquified rubber haunts my bedroom), my beloved BT announced me that I would have had to buy a new one for the bargain price of £25! So the lovely lady over the phone said in that annoingly sterile and repetitive tone of telephone operators: "we will be posting you the BT Broadband Voyager 210"(picture on the left)... that's when I abrubtly stopped her to say that what I wanted was a BT Broadband Voyager 105. At that point the operator laughed and said that that model had been discontinued a whole year ago..too old,not pretty enough, not fast enough. And there was me thinking that it was brilliant when I used to be able to browse for Japanese prints one minute and then switch to my friend's blog in south America in a second when, apparently, I was stuck in the Flinstone era because it shouldn't have taken me more than a quarter of a second - dah! Or is like my friend who has been pestering us for the past year going on about how much he wants a 30G i-pod. I have been advocating for my 1G nano my sister gave me which is cool and suits me just fine. Not enough space for music? Just change it every day (how much time do you really have to listen to music from your i-pod when you are out anyway!?). But he is tenaciously persists in wanting this huge storage i-pod. So last night we browsed the web looking for the best deal when, there behold, the new fancy super supreme 80G i-pod appeared! Wow! All of a sudden his demands for hi-tech sounded shabby. Guess what I am trying to say is that technology and society are moving superfast in this world we are living in and in as much as it is all good and fancy, the question remains: "do we really need it?". Now going back to my original title,"Mr Discontinued" is how Steve Martin in the rom-com "Father of the Bride"(1991) describes himself by comparing his self-perceived rejection as first man in his soon to-be-married daughter's life to a one of his discontinued shoe productions. Thereby the comparison between material consummerism and emotional consummerism (if that's a word). This is something I often discuss about with my peers and I imagine it is a problem as old as the world but in our global society the issue must have biggened: how to be sure you have met "the one"?!. Blokes and ladies alike seem to be awefully concerned they may marry someone and then meet someone "better"(be it more intelligent,funny,attractive,sophisticated..whatever takes your fancy really). My take on this is that it is not a possibility we may meet someone better,rather it is a virtual certainty we are all likely to become,sooner or later, Mr or Mrs Discontinued. The point is that, as exciting as the new may be, they haven't had to wake up next to you even on "bad hair days"and the truth is that no-one is ever going to love you as loyally,faithfully and honestly as the person who has chosen to love you through the thick and the thin,sickness and health,better or worse. In other words,I would have been perfectly happy with my old modem - I don't want to spend the rest of my life chasing after the "latest model",the fastest car, the best paid job,the most handsome man. Give me my modem back!

Tuesday, January 9

Life Without A Violin-Playing Goat

A little come back to one of my previous blogs. I got my hands again on a print of one of the most famous paintings by one of my favourite artists,"La Mariée" by Monsieur Marc Chagall. Most of you will most certainly remember it from the movie Notting Hill (1999) where Julia Roberts, referring to Chagall's painting, states "Yes - Happiness isn't happiness without a violin-playing goat." I love the painting and,man,I love this quote! In the surreal senselessness of this statement, there is the power not only of an evocative picture, but a phenomenal representation of life itself. "La Mariée", litteraly "the bride, the wife"depicts a man and a woman on their wedding day, a violin-playing goat, a dancing fish, a fiddler player and a number of guests on a deep blue background of little houses and open sky...what I see in it is love and life and happiness beyond conformation, canons and limitations. It is not marriage that is making this couple soar, but it is mutual love, imagination and the ability to dream beyond society constraints. I may be completely wrong in my critic and quite likely the artist never meant any of the above mentioned, but I am inclined to think that this may be possible. Marc Chagall was an outstanding artist whose talent has never been disputed. Nonetheless as a Russian-Jew in antisemitic second World War Paris, he was endangered and was forced to flee to the US. However, it is said that he would always find refuge in his art filled with vibrant colours and fantastical imagery - the hiding place of imagination. Even when the world around him was disastrously unfair and cruel, his art enabled him to find refuge in a world of beauty and sublime sentiments. By stating this, I am not advocating for escapism. I am a firm believer in the fact that one must face life whatever it may come on their path, without hiding,escaping,pretending.
There is a book in the Bible called Ecclesiastes. It is a collection of wisdom and thoughts by king Salomon. At times depressing, at times totally random - it depicts a fair picture, in my opinion, of humanity. What Salomon says is that bad things in as much as positive stuff happen to evil people and pius folks alike. The consolation and true revolution comes from the strenghtening and hope that is provided to those who believe in order to face afflicition and hardship.
Similarly, art, love, beauty can be a real solace for an aching soul. All this is part of what makes me feel so deeply for respectively my Faith and art.
So what happens when an expression of God-like traits in humankind beautifies the perfect consolation and meaningfulness of divine Hope? -A goat plays a violin on your wedding day!

Friday, January 5

Scrubbing Toilets With Love

"Sisters' Sledge"major hit ,is resounding in my little head on this murky,grey winter day.
The past few weeks have been a gloomy succession of unfortunate events,but I ain't here to moan - on the contrary, I would like to acclaim what is unique and totally awesome about Christianity. High concepts such as "love" have too often been misused,abused and,quite frankly, overused so frequently and injustly that it has become senseless and irrelevant. Nevertheless,it will never cease to amaze me when I see Christ's love practically demonstrated in the lives of those who claim to be his followers.
As most of you are aware of,my mom is sick at the moment and I live abroad which means that I cannot be with her all the time. However my absence has been wonderfully replaced by an overwhelming amount of friends from church who have been more than mere friends,but more like family, human hands and feet of metaphyisical divinity-they have been visiting,calling,cooking,doing injections,ironing and even scrubbing our toilets! In our time of trouble, they were lifting us up and even people on the other side of the globe (some of whom had never even seen or met us) were expressing their support and praying for us.
Another heart lifting experience happened this morning. I was on the bus on my way to work with my mind full of thoughts and my heart full of worries, being concerned about mom going into hospital and feeling enraged about the fact that I had only come back from my Christmas break to discover that the house had nearly burnt down on Christmas Eve...grrrrrrrrrrr!Thank God for my fire alarm and my nosey neighbours who called the fire brigade straight away!
Anyway, this guy behind me is reading a book and the guy behind him sees he is reading a Bible and sits by him and asks him if he is a Christian. The two lads start having a lovely conversation full of genuine affection and mutual interests obviously making each other's day and most likely unaware of having made my day too.
Or it is like when I first moved to sunny Salford and, nearly instantly, I had not only acquaintances and neighbours, but I found in the church people who were as close as family.
Moral of the story: my world travel,my struggles,my joys have time and again offered me the opportunity to test that Christianity unites strangers into a huge loving family. Yes, indeed, my dear Sisters' Sledge: "WE'RE FAMILY, I'VE GOT ALL MY SISTERS WITH ME!"
This tale is about love but it is also about Hope. I have been increasingly frustrated over Christmas about the fact that no matter how hard you work, the world does not seem to change. However God-given Hope tells different and brethes confidence in me: yes the world is, pardon my French, sh** at the best of times, but as Mother Theresa once said: "there are no big acts; it is small acts of kindness done with a great love that can change the world".