Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Old Building, Hume Highway, NSW - photo art #5

I've just downloaded the latest Topaz Labs filter. It's called B&W effects. This particular effect is called Opalotype (yellow lilac) and I quite like the effect.
This building is one I pass every time I go to Sydney. I don't know anything about it except that it's been there a long time. If it was a kid's cubby house then it would have been fantastic fun for the kids!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Postage stamps...

Some days I may feel utterly useless, and especially so as now I'm retired. Being retired can feel a bit wobbly at times. However, the truth is, I'm not really useless despite the feeling. Each day is a new adventure with entrusting myself and my day to God for him to bring blessing to others through who I am and whatever I may do. Whatever my feelings God is still the same God and I live for him as enthusiastically as I ever have. I just don't "do" the same things as I used to.
"So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless." 1 Corinthians 15:58 NASB
Be like a postage stamp – stick to one thing till you get there! – Josh Billings.
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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Heartwarming story from Bastar in India

I lived and worked in the Bastar region of India for a number of years in the 1960's and 70's. And, as a result, this part of the world holds a very special place in my heart.  It is heartwarming to  read something positive from the area... instead of the heartbreaking and awful news of all the unrest that's been there for so many years because of the Maoist insurgents.
Ramchandra Baghel was the son of a poor farmer from a small village in the infamous Bastar area. Given to the vice of alcohol addiction, the father had leased his farmlands. The habit resulted in the family losing their own lands and Baghel's father was forced to work as a daily wager on his own land. Today, Ramchandra has been able to buy back his forefathers' land. He also supplements his earnings by working as a driver, ferrying school children in his run-down jeep.
The youngster who could have been held in the shackles of poverty rose to attain a respectable position in society instead. This would not have been possible without the support of his beloved Dadaji and Dadiji. This old couple, not his biological grandparents, happens to play a similar role in the lives of around 4000 children in the tribal areas of Chhattisgarh.
Jayant and Jayshree Kothe, more famously Dadaji and Dadiji, belong to Nagpur, but decided to help those who really needed it after attaining the age of retirement. This took them to the notorious Abujhmar plateau in 1998. "The place has such a difficult terrain that it was impossible to work there," says Jayashree. This led to a detailed study of the needs of the various people around the region. And, finally they decided to make Dantewada and Bastar areas of Chhattisgarh their base. Later, they formed Bhartiya Kushta Nivarak Sangh, an NGO that has its presence in over 80 villages.
"An abandoned police station in Halbaras village in the Naxal-infested area was turned into our home. Today, the building also houses an ashram, a school and a laboratory equipped to screen people for sickle cell disease, a condition very common among the tribals of the area," informed Jayant. The ashram also provides shelter to more than 25 needy children, whom the elderly couple has accepted as a part of their family.
The goodness of the couple also benefits the other children in the villages. More than 200 kids are fed with nourishing khichdi, consisting of pulses like tur, moong, masoor, groundnuts and grams. The improved nutritional profile of the children has meant that malnourishment has been practically eradicated in the village. Those who did not attend school were told to come to the ashram for a couple of hours to study.
The decade long efforts of the Kothe's have finally borne fruit with the villagers as well as the government supporting their activities. The fallow land near the ashram would soon be turned into a park with financial aid from the villagers. Identifying the need for it, the government has assigned the couple with the task of screening more than 25,000 tribal children for sickle cell disease.
They have started spreading their aid to the villages in Maharashtra as well. Already started operations in Melghat, they would also be providing support to villages like Deori, Istari and Yedmagondi in their home state.
All sorts of recognition and achievements fall short for the couple as the highest reward for them is having thousands of children to call their own. The couple is in the city with some of the children from the ashram for an exhibition of handicrafts made by tribal people from Bastar ranging from bell metal, wrought iron, wood work to the famous Chapa Kosa sarees and dress materials. The money earned through sale of these items would go the BKNS's Halbaras ashram.
From: Giving 'em a new lease of life - The Times of India.
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Thursday, August 04, 2011

Incline my heart to you

Some years ago I wrote the following poem. It really speaks of issues that can cause us grief in our pursuit of health and wholeness in life as well as in our walk with Jesus. I trust is blesses and encourages you!
Incline my heart to you
My heart is inclined to you, O Lord
Yet not all
So often I see myself withholding
some thought, some desire
some bit of the old
declaring with shaking fist
this is mine,
don't touch.

A so-called friend offends me
I'm enraged
I want revenge, tit for tat.
Don't tell me to forgive,
it's unforgivable...
so my heart inclines to hatred
this is mine
don't touch.

There's much to do, and
I'm tired of doing
I want to play
to go where I want to go
and do what I want to do
so my heart inclines to selfishness
this is mine
don't touch.

And so the list goes on
I spiral down
lost to myself in whirling self-pity
deeper into loneliness,
so my heart inclines to
hopelessness and despair
O God, I am yours, You are mine
touch me.

Written as a result of reflecting on 1 Kings 8:54-61
Copyright 2005 Fran Woods
Ref: Bhojli Reflections: Poetry
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Longevity is due to genes not lifestyle, study finds

An interesting piece of research. It's something I've suspected. In my family from my mother's side, the women of the family seem to live well into their 90's, even when they have had heart attacks, diabetes, blood pressure, or other general health problems during their long lives. I've always found it to be rather intriguing.
Longevity is due to genes not lifestyle, study finds:
"Israeli researchers trying to unlock the secret of longevity studied a population of Ashkenazi Jews who have lived to at least 95 and found their eating and lifestyle habits are no better than those of the general population.

In fact, men in the long-lived group drank slightly more and exercised less than their average counterparts.

The findings are published in the online edition of Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. ..." [follow link above for more]

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Monday, August 01, 2011

Small 'weapon' makes big difference in war on famine

The news coming out of Africa is always gut wrenching. Famines and wars, wars and famines. There is such a humanitarian crisis in Somalia at present that it's hard to comprehend the level of suffering. Here is a bit of hopeful news (click on link for full article):

Small 'weapon' makes big difference in war on famine:
"SOMETIMES survival can be a simple equation. The difference between life and death for a frail child in Somalia can come down to being fed a peanut-based paste that costs less than 40 cents a serve.

Plumpy'nut - each sachet of the nutritional supplement weighs only 92 grams - is Red Cross aid worker Hilary Floate's not-so-secret weapon in the war on famine. And amid a litany of bad news from the East African drought and conflict zone, it is good news everyone can relish. ..."

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