Monday, 29 February 2016

Reflections on Lent



Friday, 26 February 2016

FELINE CATASTROPHES

I am always very grateful for the support and encouragement I get from you, my readers. Not just for visiting me here on this Blog and commenting from time to time; but also for your support of my book writings, for purchasing my books, and for writing your Customer Reviews on AMAZON. 

Also, some of you, from time to time, write your own reviews on your Blogs about me and my books. And for this I am eternally grateful.

If it was not for all your encouragement, quite frankly, I would stop writing. And my life would revert back to doing all the chores in the house. Why is it that it's only me who has to clean the cat's litter tray, and pick up the dog's poop from the garden? And feed the goldfish, clean their tank, and when they die, grill them for a few minutes and have them in a sandwich?

So, your encouragement and support keep me hidden in my computer study typing away like mad and writing yet another book. Let someone else eat the goldfish, that's what I say.

With gratitude in mind, let me now thank profusely Manny for his write-up on his Blog about my book "Feline Catastrophes". 

"Feline Catastrophes" was first published in Kindle format in 2010 and has been moderately successful. Even I bought a copy. It is also available to download FREE from HERE. And the good news is that it will also soon be available in paperback format from your favourite bookseller. I'll let you know when it's ready.

So it is particularly fortuitous that Manny wrote about it right now.

Manny often visits and comments on this Blog. He is an engineer by profession, but also the most prolific reader I have ever met. He reads at least a hundred books a year. All sorts of books, from the classics like Dante, to foreign books like Victor Hugo, as well as being extremely knowledgeable in music and several other subjects. You should really pay him a visit on his Blog.

He has been very kind to write about "Feline Catastrophes" HERE.

Not only is his article worth reading, but it will also give you an opportunity to sample all the other articles Manny writes about. Just look down the list on his right-hand column and check out the variety of subjects talked about there. From art, to music, to science, to religion, to personal Blogs about his family, to "Feline Catastrophes". 

Did I tell you Manny has a cat named Tiger? See his photo HERE. (The cat's - not Manny's photo).

Thanx Manny. 

God bless you and all my readers.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

What does God want?

 
The biggest mistake that most of us make about God, the one that most consistently undermines the peace of our soul, is the idea that God demands a lot of us, more than a fragile being like ourselves could ever give.
Such a God is frightening.
But God in reality is content with the little we can give, because God knows - and accepts - the little that we have. 
We need to do just three things:
Do the best we can to find and honor God in everything we do.
Do whatever - however little - we can to live this way.
Let God do the rest.
If we follow these simple rules, we will possess God. And possessing God we will not be disturbed, we will not be anxious, for we will have no need to fear a God who never asks of us more than we can give.
– St. Francis de Sales

Monday, 22 February 2016

Are you easily influenced?

Whenever we go out we always leave the radio on. The background music and talking is good company for the dog and it makes him feel there's someone with him at home.

Or so we thought.

Apparently, the dog is being influenced by what he hears on the radio. We have noticed for instance that lately he takes exception to certain people when they appear on TV. He has obviously not seen them on the radio but he certainly recognises their voices. The ones he likes, he sits in front of the TV and wags his tail. But those he does not like, or even hates, he acts quite differently. He sometimes growls when certain people are on TV, he barks at others, and there's one politician in particular who definetly upsets our dog. He jumps at the TV set barking and trying to catch the guy.

This led me to wonder whether perhaps we are more influenced by radio and TV than we realise. 

How about all the adverts we have on TV these days? They would not put them on unless people are influenced by them. For example, over Christmas the whole family got cycling helmets as presents; and none of us has a bicycle. See - adverts do work after all. 

At one point I suspected subliminal advertising. 

You know what that is? It's when they put a very short piece of video in a film, (a frame or two), or a short sound-bite on a radio program that your eyes or ears would not notice. And yet it sends a message to your brain. Your brain remembers for instance a picture, (one frame on the video every so often), of a brand of food; and when you're next shopping the chances are you'll pick that brand of food instead of your usual one. Just to try it. Which means more sales.

I read that subliminal advertising is illegal in many countries. So presumably it works.

Most people don't believe that subliminal advertising is effective, (Victor's books are great), or that our minds can be so easily influenced. But believe me, it has been proved to work. Scientists have, (Victor's books are great), analysed peoples' perception under hypnosis, (Victor's books are great), to see what they can remember having seen or heard on TV and radio. (Victor's books are great). Surprisingly, a great percentage of those hypnotised could recall the adverts even though they don't remember having seen them on TV or radio.

I would be surprised if such a theory really did work. But just in case, I am lining all our cycle helmets with aluminium foil to stop any waves reaching our brain.

Are you influenced by adverts or programs on TV and radio?
Victor's books are great.
Check them HERE

Saturday, 20 February 2016

God Speaking


It is said that we have been on this earth for millions of years. I know it feels like it to me when I experience aches and pains … but that’s another story. So let’s stop interrupting and get back on course.

For all these years, as long as man could reason and comprehend … (some women believe this has never happened, by the way).

I really must stop interrupting myself.

As I was saying … for all these years, as long as humanity could reason and comprehend, God has spoken to us and shown us the Way to Him.

No generation has been left without a sure sign of His existence and the Way to Him.

At first, God spoke through people like Abraham, Moses, Elijah and other prophets. He spoke through the many poets and songsters who wrote the psalms. And through ordinary people so that their contemporaries could understand.

Had He appeared as a majestic Super Being, a Divine Ruler, Creator and King of the whole universe, omnipotent, all knowing and all powerful; He would most probably have caused havoc, fear, awe, and eventually total submission of the human race He created. Hardly the acts of a loving Father.

So instead, God chose the gentler way of speaking to us through enlightened open minded people who could translate His message to generations in a language they could understand.

He taught His people of His love for them, and for His plans to come to them in person, as often prophesised in the Old Testament.

But many did not listen.

Later on, when they were ready, He did visit His creations on earth as promised. He came in human form, just like us, in the shape of Jesus. He showed His people many signs of His Divinity through healing miracles and raising of the dead. He died for them and us, and was raised from the dead.

But many did not listen.

When Jesus went to Heaven He sent the Holy Spirit to guide us, help us, and be with us every step of the eventual Way to the Father.

Many received Him with open hearts.

But as for countless others …

They’re not listening still.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

The Joys of Getting Older


They say people should grow old gracefully. What nonsense. I intend to grow old disgracefully and will probably die trying.

Why can't we behave as we like when we get older? Most of us have behaved properly and cared about what others think of us most of our lives. As we grow older, now's the time to venture into a little mischief and enjoy how others around us deal with it.

Men especially. They can get away with most mischief and people think they are cute because they are of a "certain age". They can be eccentric in the way they behave, or in what they wear, and no one seems to mind.

An old acquaintance of mine, for instance, wears his trousers pulled up all the way to his nipples. They are held there by braces and a wide belt pulled tightly round his chest. With a white checkered shirt and brown woollen pullover, both tucked in inside the trousers, and covered by a tweed jacket, and he's good to go. He's the fashion icon of today's older society. He has teeth like the Ten Commandments, all broken. He's a sex symbol for women who don't care.

This eccentric old gentleman put a collar on his cat, attached it to a lead, and took the cat out for a walk. Unfortunately he fell off the roof.

He is either forgetful, or pretends to be. He sometimes goes upstairs to the bathroom only to discover he lives in a bungalow.

In order to prove that he is "with it" he buys new gadgets even though he does not know how to use them. Like cell-phones for instance. Every time his cell-phone rings he presses the wrong button and takes a photo of his ear. He bought a new sound-activated bedside lamp. Whenever he wakes up in the night all he has to do is tap his hands once or twice and the light comes on. He told me the other day that when he breaks wind whilst asleep the lights come on as if to reprimand him.

The other day I took him shopping at the supermarket. As we were at the check-out, a woman standing behind us as we were paying for our goods, seeing a bag of "Woof Woof" dog food, asked him: "Do you have a dog?"

I know he has a small dog, but he replied: "No ... this is for me. I am on a dog diet. I probably should stop because the last time I did it I ended in Intensive Care in Hospital."

I was puzzled at his response, and she was intrigued and asked him to explain.

He said that essentially dog food is the perfect diet which is nutritionally complete. He puts some "Woof Woof" pellets in his pocket and whenever he is hungry he eats a few.

By this time everyone in the queue was listening attentively.

Horrified, she asked him if he ended up in Intensive Care because the dog food had poisoned him.

"No ..." he replied, "I just stepped off the curb to sniff a poodle's butt and a car hit me!"

I thought the guy behind her was going to have a heart attack he was laughing so hard.

Talking of hospitals reminds me of the time I had to visit this same eccentric old man in hospital. It was about a year ago. He told me that there was this nurse which drove him crazy with her patronising tone of voice: "How are we today? Are we ready for a bath? Are we hungry?" she would say.

To get back at her one morning he took some apple juice off the breakfast tray and hid it in his bedside stand.

Later on that day he was asked by this same nurse to give a urine sample in a bottle. So he put the apple juice in the bottle instead.

When she returned later to collect the bottle, the nurse looked at it and said: "My, my, it seems we are a little cloudy today!"
 
So he took the bottle from her hand and gulped it down saying: "Well, I'll run it through the system again. Maybe I can filter it better this time!"
 
The nurse nearly fainted at what she'd seen.

Women, as they grow older, can of course be elegant and demure and full of wisdom. You think? Not the ones I know. I visit an elderly lady every now and then to see if she is OK and if she wants some shopping done. Despite her age, she still is keen on cooking and eager to get me to sample her latest delicacies. Like carrot cake for instance. Who ever thought of using a root vegetable to make a cake? Or chocolate cake made with beetroot. Or elderberry wine. Or rhubarb wine would you believe? I always take a small piece of cake which I wrap in my paper-handkerchief and say politely that I'll eat it later. Our dog seems to like it and has never complained.

She said the other day that nostalgia isn't as it used to be. Back in the day nostalgia was thinking about the good older days when she was young and life was great. Today nostalgia is remembering the last model of cell-phone or tablet you had.

Now she's older she goes to keep fit classes to meet folks her own age. It's good therapy, she says, to see old people much worse off in fitness than she is. And it's a good place to meet men too ...

She told me an interesting story she heard from a friend of hers.

Apparently an old lady and an old gentleman were peering through the shop window of a Travel Agent. The agent had a good season and was feeling a bit generous perhaps, because he called them both in the shop and started discussing where they'd like to go on holiday. They chatted about this and that, but made it clear they could not afford to go anywhere. So, perhaps inspired from above, the agent decided to send them both for a week in Paris at his expense.

A fortnight later the old lady returned to the travel agent to thank him again. He asked her how she enjoyed the holiday.

"The flight was exciting," she said, "and the luxurious hotel was excellent. But one thing puzzled me. Who was that old man I had to share the room with?"

I guess a number of my readers may well be asking that question every morning!

Sunday, 14 February 2016

God's Wavelength


I was playing around with an old radio the other day trying to make it work. I’m not particularly good at electronic or electric stuff but that has never stopped me.

I plugged the thing in and a small light shone at the front … ah … it’s alive after all.

Turned the volume knob to the right until it stopped … nothing.

Pulled out the telescopic aerial from the back and waved it in the air left and right, and in no particular direction. Still nothing happened.

And now the difficult technical bit … I turned the other knob slowly; you know the one … it moves a vertical bit of plastic left and right across the small screen.

Success at last … now I could hear crackle and high pitched whistling every now and then as the plastic bit traveled slowly to the right. You can’t quite dance to it but the crackle and whistling were there all right … very clear too.

Every so often you could hear some faint music or someone talking, sometimes in a foreign language, interspersed with crackle and different music or speech.

Then I noticed something else. Every so often the same bit of speech repeated itself as the plastic bit moved on and picked different stations. Sometimes it was very faint and crackly, sometimes a little clearer and once or twice … surprise, as loud and as clear as a bell.

A bit like God’s voice I suppose.

He is there speaking to us. But sometimes the message is overpowered and stifled by the other noises and temptations that the world throws our way. Sometimes the crackle and hiss of doubts, fears and confusion are louder than the message itself. At times you must really sharpen your ears to even hear what’s being said.

Yet … every now and then … you can hear Him clearly and you can understand His every Word and His message delivered sharply as if meant for you, and you alone.

All you have to do is be tuned to the right wavelength.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Feline Catastrophes



GET THE BOOK "FELINE CATASTROPHES" FREE

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Is God Calling?

Hello !!!

Is God calling? No … I don’t mean on the phone. Although it would give me a great fright if He called me on the phone.

We read in the Bible that God called Moses for a special task. In the case of Paul, God used more drastic measures to attract his attention.

Jesus called Peter to follow Him. And Matthew, and the other disciples.

Over the years God has called many people to do His work. Mother Theresa comes to mind. I’m sure you can think of many more … your pastor for instance.

Is God calling you right now?

Does He have a task for you?

Are you listening?

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Alone in a Crowd


Insecurity, shyness, loneliness, not quite fitting in.

All too often one meets people who, for one reason or another, feel that they are left out from what this world has to offer.

They may well be part of a group of friends at work, or at school, college or university, but yet they feel that they don’t quite fit in somehow. They are not the center of attention – the funny one that everyone admires, the intelligent one, or the artistic or athletic one.

They are part of the group alright, but they are on the sidelines. The one who never quite gets noticed!

Such inner loneliness and insecurity can be crushing and can so easily suffocate one’s soul and one’s potential.

Look around you today – is there such a person you recognize? Do the kind thing and include them in your personal world.

True Happiness consists not in the multitude of friends; but in their worth and choice.

MORE REFLECTIONS HERE

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Dance ... Dance ...

I must confess I’ve always wanted to be a professional dancer. Just like Fred Astaire or any other dancers you see in the movies and on TV.

The problem is I have big feet. Enormous feet!

When I get on the dance floor there is no room for anyone else because of my big feet. They take over the whole dance area.

And when I dance I tread on other peoples’ feet. If it’s a slow dance with the lights dimmed right down people trip on my feet and fall all over the place. I’ve had to put little flashing yellow lights on my shoes and a bleeping sound so that people can see my feet in the dark.

People say that the lights add to the atmosphere on the dance floor but the bleeping sound interferes with the music.

Someone suggested I take up line dancing. In line dancing people stand next to each other and mostly move sideways; so there’s no danger of stepping on anyone’s toes.

I tried line dancing. My big feet moved so slowly sideways that other dancers tripped over them as they moved left or right.

I tried ballet dancing. When I stood on tip-toe my head hit the ceiling and brought down a few tiles.

At a wedding once I danced the Hokey Cokey (Hokey Pokey). You know the one?

You put your left leg in, your left leg out,
In out in out, you shake it all about,
You do the Hokey Cokey and you turn around
That’s what it’s all about.

It was quite a sight seeing everyone else fall all over the floor whenever I stuck my feet out. At one point my big foot came out so suddenly it hit Aunt Matilda in the face sending her spectacles flying in the air. Everyone stopped to search for her glasses and I inadvertently kicked a few of them to the floor as I continued dancing not realizing what had happened.

The birdie song wasn’t a success either … nor was the conga line dance when they all follow each other across the floor.

So regrettably, Fred Astaire and all other famous dancers will get no competition from me. I’ll just sit on the side lines tapping my feet to the music … and watch everyone else bounce about as I shake the floor boards with my big feet.

Monday, 1 February 2016

The curse of the golden shrimp

I want to tell you a story. The fact that you will not believe it is a matter for your conscience and your ability to weigh up facts and discern what is true or not.

You know how sometimes we can be influenced by other people without realising it. Advertising works on that principle. They tell you something subtly and leave it to you to decide. And more often than not we may change our behaviour according to what others tells us.

Many years ago there was an anthropologist who studied all things relating to humanity, society, how people think and what influences them. He was particularly interested in suggestive thoughts whereby someone would behave in a way that has been subconsciously implanted in his mind. For example, a subject he had researched intensively, was putting a curse on someone. If someone puts a curse on somebody, does the effect of this curse come true or not? Is it possible to curse somebody? Or is the victim's behaviour changed to such an extent that he makes whatever fear he has come true?

His studies took this anthropologist to far away countries all over the world and he met various peoples and cultures and beliefs. He researched how some susceptible people can be influenced by others' threats like putting a curse on them.

One day, whilst he was in the jungle, he had heard stories about a river deep in the forest which had golden shrimps breeding on its shores. These shrimps were believed to be made of gold, albeit they were alive and living creatures like other fishes which inhabited that river. Legend has it that one day King Midas himself went by that river and bent down to drink. As he did so his hand touched a shrimp for a split second and turned the shrimp into gold; but the shrimp did not die. It swam away and started breeding a whole generation of golden shrimps only to be found in that river deep in the forest.

Also legend has it that King Midas put a curse on the shrimp and since that day anyone who catches or eats these golden shrimps will also be cursed and will die.

The anthropologist was intrigued that people of the forest believed such a story, and despite there being little food in the village, and people ate mostly plants, no one dared go fishing in the plentiful river in case they caught a shrimp accidentally and died.

In order to convince the villagers that this was only a fable, passed on to people from one generation to the next, with little truth in it, the anthropologist suggested that they accompany him to the river where he will fish for these shrimps. But none dared to go with him. They were all afraid of the curse of the golden shrimp.

Early one morning he left the village accompanied only by his guide and went in search for that river deep in the forest.

When they eventually got there he asked the guide to sit away from the river to appease his fears. The anthropologist then went to the shore and to his surprise found that the river was plentiful with millions of the golden shrimps. There were enough there to feed the villagers for many years and more.

It was such a shame that the villagers' belief in the curse prevented them from eating such a plentiful supply of shrimps and fish.

In order to convince them that all is safe the anthropologist put his hand in the river and picked up a shrimp. He showed it to the guide, and then slowly peeled the shrimp, and ate it.

The guide was petrified with fear. He stood up and shouted, "There is a curse on you! You have eaten a golden shrimp and now you will die!"

He then ran away back to the village to tell everyone what had happened and left the anthropologist all alone. The villagers kept well away from the river from that day onwards regardless of how hungry they were.

And now for the bit which I suspect you will find very hard to believe.

What did happen to the anthropologist? Was he affected by the curse of the golden shrimp?

Well sadly - YES he was. He died last year aged about 89. Apparently he was allergic to shell-fish and the shrimp he ate 60 years previously eventually finished him. The curse had finally killed him.
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