Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mountain Climbing

Mountains. Beautiful, majestic, breathtaking. But deadly to the ill prepared.

Spiritual mountains can be the same. The climb to the peak challenges you physically, mentally, and emotionally. Any lack of self discipline becomes glaringly obvious. Either you're fit for the journey when you start out, or fit by the time you reach the summit!     Few people stand where the air is thin and the view expansive.

Each night, camp is made, in as sheltered a spot as can be found.  But the next morning finds the team packed and climbing again.

I wonder if sometimes we're like Abraham's father, Terah, who began the journey with his son to Canaan. When Terah was about seventy he fathered three sons, Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Haran fathered a son named Lot, but in Genesis 11:28 we learn that Haran died before his father, Terah.

So Terah packs up shop, and begins the journey with Abram and his wife Sarai, and his grandson Lot, and heads for Canaan. But along the way, they came to a town named Haran (his dead son's name), and settled there. For Terah, the journey is over.  He died in Haran.

Haran. I know I've been there.

Rendered breathless by a painful place in my life. Felt the scab of an old wound ripped open. Buried hopes, dreams, even friendship. Who would ever want to stop there? But we do. We set up camp. An altar maybe, to the idol of agony.

Maybe it's settling for the ordinary. The familiar, the mediocre.  After all, do we really need to be self-disciplined?  It's hard work.  And life is so busy!   Is good health really that important?  My body, "the temple of the Holy Spirit" stuff is just extreme.  And God is blessing me!  Surely that means I'm right where I should be?

And so we stay, right where we are, instead of moving to the higher place that God has for us.

Every one travels through Haran.

How long we stay is up to us.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Archer

I sense a commissioning from the Lord.  He's laid in my lap a beautiful, high powered weapon.  A bow.  The arrows are plentiful; the tips sharp and perfectly honed.

Most mornings, I stand before my open window that overlooks the Pacific Ocean, and gaze towards Australia.  Then I take my arrows, dip them in the Word, take aim, and fire.

In faith, I specify the recipients.  And like a homing missile, they do not return void.  They accomplish all that they have been sent out to do.

It might sound weird.  I'm just doing what I'm told to do.  God says for me to use His word, and this is the way He showed me.  I'm a visionary type, so it helps me to "see" the word flying as arrows.  If you struggle with wielding the Sword, ask God to give you a way that suits your personality type.   After all, He knows you perfectly!

Isaiah 55:11  "It is the same with My word.   I send it out and it always produces fruit.  It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it."  (NLT)

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Thursday, September 2, 2010


My window is flung wide open, this morning, appreciating the sweet scent of the past two days deluge.  Birds are chattering excitedly, while the distant hum of traffic in Suva floats up the valley.  It's a beautiful morning.

A rattling roar signals the arrival of the rubbish truck, unseen, down on the roadfront. Garbologists, my dad calls them.  Like a cloud of poison gas, my nose is gradually and aggressively assailed with the stench of mice or rats, hidden amongst the rubbish the compactor had swallowed.  The overwhelming, all pervading, blanket of vile wraps itself over the street and surrounding homes.  Particularly ones with windows open.

And then it's gone.  Like a child dragging a blankie behind him, the truck rattles further on it's route, taking the toxicity with it.   The sweet rain scent begins to waft back in, and the birds return to chirping.  We can all relax.

Toxicity (says Wikipedia) is the degree to which a substance is able to damage an exposed organism....or on larger and more complex groups, such as the family unit or society at large.

A light came on for me. Our prayers are toxic. Toxic to the enemy.  Toxic to strongholds.  
Toxic to sickness, disease, and lack.  They notice our prayer scent before they even see us.
acute exposure
a single exposure to a toxic substance which may result in severe biological harm or death; acute exposures are usually characterized as lasting no longer than a day.
chronic exposure
continuous exposure to a toxin over an extended period of time, often measured in months or years; it can cause irreversible side effects.  (Wikipedia)
Sometimes one prayer will do the job; other times, we need to continually apply the Word of God to a situation, to knock the wall down.  Our prayers can be toxic to the enemy.   Joshua walked around the wall of Jericho seven times.  The enemy thought them crazy.  But the wall fell, and Jericho was taken.

Lord, help my prayers be acute toxic radiation to the enemy.  
Don't let me waste Your time or mine.  Teach me, Lord.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I've just been to the bank.  (Insert round of applause and cheering here)

To describe my outing as a marathon seems an exaggeration, but to The Initiated, to Those Who Have Gone Before, it's the reality of a certain Suva bank.  We just smile and nod.  I put a dollar in the meter for parking, thinking, one hour and 15 minutes should easily cover it.  Such optimism.

As I gazed at the sea of people waiting to be served, I saw a huge business opportunity.   Customer entertainment!   Popcorn sellers, art or macrame classes...guitar lessons would be good.  Learn a song or three while you wait.   Basketweaving, perhaps, for those who have been waiting the longest?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Lazarus the Un-Dead Dog

Driving on Rewa St a few weeks ago, we passed a dog.  He was strangely stiff, laying on the sidewalk, and it crossed my mind that he was dead, possibly hit by a car on the busy road then dragged onto the path.  But I wasn't sure.

The next day, I was sure.  There he was, stiff as only a dead dog can be, his mangy shape lying forlornly in the exact same spot.  It was drizzling rain, and for Fiji, was a cold morning.   I felt sad for him.

That afternoon, someone, I guessed a schoolboy, had dragged him just a few metres along the path, and placed his lifeless form on the top of a steep nearby driveway.   I wondered how long it would be, until the garbage collectors tossed him in the truck.

The following morning his body was gone.   I felt a sense of relief.  Dogs here are very neglected.  Most are mangy, and half starved.  He was better off dead.

Early the next morning,  he was back.

I did a double take.   Definitely the same dog, or a clone of it, walking.
I got home and told the kids.  No one believed that it was the same dog.

We all had our eyes on that spot, next trip past, and sure enough, there was Lazarus, our Un-Dead Dog, doing his Dead Dog impersonation.  Stiff as a board.  Full rigor-mortis. His tongue hanging limply from his mouth for dramatic impact.  A blowfly buzzing overhead.  Dead.  As only HE could be.

Since then, we've seen Lazarus many times.  He is very easy to recognise.  He's dead.   At least, most of the time.

Jesus said, "Remove the stone." The sister of the dead man, Martha, said, "Master, by this time there's a stench. He's been dead four days!"   Jesus looked her in the eye. "Didn't I tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"    John 11:39-40  The Message

Lord, how do I limit you with my unbelief?  What stones have I put in your way?   I give you full access into any tombs within me.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


This morning as I drove through the traffic, dodging buses, and pipping red lights so heavily that they were nearly green, I laughed to myself at the ridiculosity of everything.  I thought I was actually creating a new word.  I didn't realise someone else had already been to that place, and named it.

I was blessed to spend the morning at the Worship Centre in Pender St, Suva. Pastor Maika Rainima was holding an international conference there, and Faylene Sparks from Gloryfire Ministries, Anne E Banks and two aussie guys named Rod and Mark that I didn't learn the last names of, were speaking.

I found myself soaking up the Aussie accents and terminology, and smiling quietly to myself when Aussie jokes went sailing over the sea of Fijian heads.  It was comforting.  A delicious taste of the familiar.  Chicken Soup for the soul, as they say.

Powerhouse Teen

17 year old Owen Braaksma from NZ tells of healing miracles experienced in Fiji.  What a mature young man!

Share me

Crazy Day

Jeanette, Ilebere and Lucilla with some of the completed gingernut biscuits.

Today's prison visit obviously had some spiritual opposition. See the post below. A portion of the inmates are mentally challenged, and to say this made our visit "interesting" is probably kind. Very kind.

Today I am heading downtown to the Worship Centre's conference, where Faylene Sparks will be speaking. I am looking forward to recharging...
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Joseph's Aunties

Joseph is two months old, and the youngest inmate of Suva Women's Prison. His mum (shown above with Joseph) lives in the area set aside as a nursery, which is outfitted by charities with a decent cot complete with mosquito netting, and a small amount of nursery equipment. He never lacks for attention from all his "aunties". Joseph is permitted to stay with his mum until he is 6 years old.

The prison garden yields an abundance of fresh vegetables daily, which are then brought in and prepared into chop suey, soup or similar.
Wednesday saw Jill, Jeanette and I back inside, cooking madly. And that's fairly accurate. It was one of those days when it seemed absolutely everything went wrong. Major ingredients were missing, muffins stuck to trays, slabs of brownies were put on trays that didn't fit the the oven, biscuits burned...yada yada yada. Even the majority of photos taken were blurred!

But God is so good, what saleable product we did create was adequate.
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Monday, August 23, 2010

Lessons in Suva Prison

I had the privilege of helping Jill Schultz from in the Suva Women's Prison today. Our mission was to help oversee the production of biscuits, slices, and cakes to be sold at the Hibiscus Festival this week in Albert Park. It's the Big Deal in Suva, the place where fairy floss and nauseating rides are still only $2.

We had two amazing young women inmates to help us. Ilebere (pronounced with m before the b) and Lucilla excitedly and energetically helped produce a heap of wonderful goodies which will be sold to raise money for the Yellow Ribbon Program. Remember the old song, "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree"?

"I'm really still in prison and my love
She holds the key
A simple yellow ribbon's what I need to set me free."

Operation Foundation is heavily involved in the Yellow Ribbon Program, rehabilitating prisoners back into society and employment; seeking forgiveness from family and society, when it is slow to be given, or not there at all. Check out and see what an incredible, vital job they do.
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I learned Hindi in Prison

Today my friend Jill and I had the privilege of helping in the Suva Women's Prison.   Peter and Jill Schultz head up"Operation Foundation",  a ministry aimed at rehabilitating prisoners back into the community.

Our goal was to supervise the making of delicious biscuits, slices, and other treats to be sold at the Hibiscus Festival, this coming week. (see post below for more photos)

One of the creations involved popping corn, and we had a crowd of inmates and guards peering into the glass topped pot with fascination as the popcorn did it's thing.  Then we covered it with a slather of hot toffee, and made popcorn balls, which we thought could be a good substitute for toffee apples. We hope they sell well! The girls had a ton of fun, hurriedly making them before the toffee set.

Custard biscuits, chocolate and ginger brownie slice, scones, chocolate peanut biscuits, and sultana biscuits gradually joined the collection of completed popcorn balls.   A delicious custard flavoured cookie of Jill's was called "Grandma's Biscuits", so we jokingly named them Boom-Boom Biscuits. Boom-Boom is fijian for grandmother. Actually, it might be Hindi. I can't remember.

I learned another Hindi word today. I don't know how it's spelled, buuuuuut, it sounds like So Much Ghia, with the emphasis on Much. : ))) and it means "I understand". Which is a handy Hindi word to have up my sleeve! (NOT!)

It was SUCH a blessing to be there for the day.

I took a chicken, lettuce and carrot sandwich, with ranch dressing, but asked permission at lunchtime to give it to our two girls to share.  The reverence given to the sandwich was phenomenal. It was cut, painstakingly, gently, tenderly, into perfect quarters.  You would think it was about to be eaten by the Queen. It looked PERFECT.

After a prayer, the girls slowly and delicately took a first bite. I nudged Jill. The look of rapture on Ilebere's face was incredible. She looked like she'd died and gone to heaven. As the sandwich moved around her mouth, her head looked heavenward and she closed her eyes in bliss. She had no idea we were watching. When she opened her eyes, we teased her gently about her reaction.  She explained that they rarely have salad, and never anything like the sandwich with dressing.

When a neighbouring workmate asked for it, there was just a heartbeat of hesitation, then she good-naturedly gave the lady the remaining quarter, of the two she'd been given.

I suddenly ~ and sincerely ~ lost all appetite for my box of salad.  I think it was the huge slice of humble pie I had.

So the two girls shared it, with Lucilla pouncing on pieces of celery like it was chocolate.

The two apples I produced were meticulously quartered and shared amongst themselves.  I like to think they had a wonderful day!

I am so excited to know that I get to go there again this Wednesday!  God is so good to me. He truly does give us the desires of our heart.

Please pray for our girls in the prison. 
They really do need our prayers.

Popcorn and Boom-Booms

Ilebere and Lucilla making the popcorn balls.

Ilebere, Lucilla, Nancy and Jill with those delicious
"Boom-Boom Biscuits"
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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Diamonds in the Dust

This morning we headed to MHCC, a shopping complex in the heart of Suva.  Out the front was an elderly indo-fijian man, loudly berating an invisible and vast audience with a barrage of Hindi.  He is a regular.  In agitation he paced, to and fro, waving his arms wildly and waggling his finger at the disobedient and invisible recipients of his tirade.   The first time I saw him, months ago, he was commandeering the pedestrian crossing, hurling abuse into the air.  Very intimidating!   But this morning, we stood off to the side and, like everyone else waiting for the store to open, simply observed him with curiosity...and pity.

We tried to guess.  Perhaps, in earlier days, he was an old school headmaster.  A politician.  A preacher, perhap?.   The indo-fijian taxi drivers watched him with respectful amusement as the old man stormed out onto the crossing in front of a bus, and began to try to push the bus backwards, away from the crossing.  

When I asked a taxi driver for a translation, he chuckled.  "He's saying,  Don't park here! It's a $200 fine!"

As I looked at the man, I remembered a story a friend told me.

It was a winter morning at Gloria Jeans in Suva.  My friend had enjoyed a hot chocolate, and was preparing to go, when the door opened.  In slipped a tired old man, obviously a street-person. 

He quietly took a seat up the back, and pulled out a battered newspaper from his bundle of belongings.  My friend watched as he tried to soak up the warmth, and blend into the surroundings.  Incoming customers hesitated, then chose seating away from him.  The staff began giving him cautious looks.  She wondered how long they'd let him stay.

The woman rose to go, and impulsively walked to the cashier and ordered another hot chocolate, with instructions for it to be given to the man, then slipped out the door.  A few minutes later, she walked by, and saw him sitting up straight, delightedly stirring sugar into his hot chocolate.  Legally, he now had a right to be in Gloria Jeans.  No one would throw him out.

Matthew 25:40  Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me--you did it to me.'   The Message.

Lord, let us recognise the unpolished diamonds of humanity, the way You see them.  Precious.

Lessons from the Gym

For years, I've had a weak back, weak legs, and lately, flabby arms.  I've been spending some time at the USP gym, lately, intending to focus on these areas.  Malcolm, the trainer, explained that I need to strengthen my abs and "core".  A foundation, a core of strength, brings balance.  With balance, comes increased strength and endurance.  Everything I do is easier - and more effective - with a strong core.  A weak core makes me susceptible to injury.

It's easy to know if I am physically out of condition.  Those extra kilos are visible to all.  The spiritual condition, though, can be covered with Christian body spray.   Things I put on, to cover up the real smell.  False smiles, busy activity, anything but attention to the whiff of decay. 
Lord!  I give You permission to strengthen my core.  Let the fragrance of my heart be sweet.

1Sa 16:7  But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."   NIV

Friday, August 20, 2010


Service Stations here still give service.  The Mobil at Flagstaff  has a 20 foot container to one side, the workshop for a tyre repair shop that is efficiently run by a maori-fijian man in his 30's.   His bulging chest and tribally tattooed arm muscles bear testimony to the car tyres he obviously throws around.  I don't know his name, but I'll call him suits him!

Over the past 3 years, I've needed 3 tyre repairs.  I arrived there today, and Max's grin told me he recognised me.  He informed the waiting taxi driver (the one with two bald tyres)  that he would serve me first, as I was a repeat customer.  I suspected he recalled the tips I'd given.  I felt some fleeting embarrassment but culture is one of those things that I am still learning about, and I knew this was one of those moments.

Max set about removing my rear wheel, tut-tutting at some damage done by a mechanic's jack recently.  He decided to panel beat that out first.  The tyre finally slid off and was heaved into a leaning, cast-iron bathtub, one end propped higher than the other, a quarter filled with water.  Experienced eyes surveyed the tyre as it was spun and checked.  I heard the disappointment in his voice when he found no leak.  I sensed an unspoken "There goes my tip..." hanging in the air.

After 15 minutes, and the addition of grease and air, he asked for the usual $3, the standard repair price.  That's roughly $1.80 AUD.  I had already decided having a safe tyre was worth $10, and drove away after immediate service with a job well done.  I was Max's priority.  And Max got his tip.

Certain things in life are priorities, whether we acknowledge them or not.   Just because we ignore them doesn't lower their importance.   What benefits am I failing to reap?  What needs more attention in my life?    Less?      Lord, help me recognise my priorities.

Blue Eyes

My friend Sharen shared this story:

While we were working at a men's clothing store, a customer asked my coworker to help her pick out a tie that would make her husband's blue eyes stand out.

"Ma'am," he explained, "any tie will make blue eyes stand out if you tie it tight enough."

Crispy Gingernuts and the Wellspring of Life.

I made a trip out of Suva this morning, to the Lami ginger factory, where it is widely rumoured that Buderim Ginger is sourced.   For $3.50 FJD you can buy a Fijian kilo of crystallised ginger seconds.   A Fijian kilo varies from a whisker over one kilo to almost 1.5kg, depending on who was filling the bag at the time.

The seconds are good!  I have NO idea why they are seconds.  Perhaps I don't need to know.  But they're good.

So today we made close to 160 gingernut bikkies.  A delicious concoction.

Crispy Gingernuts (makes about 80 depending on how big you make 'em!)
250g butter
2 cups caster sugar (or white, or raw...)
2 tablespoons golden syrup
2 eggs
4 cups self raising flour
2 tablespoons ground ginger (luuuurrrrve ginger)
2 teaspoons bicarb soda
Optional chopped crystallised (candied) ginger

Preheat oven 180C (350F), adjust down a bit for gas, or fanforced.
Cream the first three ingredients.  Add everything else except the candied ginger.  Combine, roll into balls, press bits of ginger on top to decorate - or hundreds and thousands for the kids among you.
Bake on trays for 10 mins or until completely golden brown.  You want to go beyond the usual golden around the edges, if you want snappy crispy bikkies.   One soft bikkie will send a container of snappy ones all soft.

Cool on trays 2 mins then lift to racks.  When cool, store in airtight containers.

And that got me thinking. 

One pessimistic thought can soften up a whole tin of crispy thinking, so keep your lid on tight, and watch what you put in your tin.

Pro 4:23  Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Today's Jaw Dropper.

Today's Jaw Dropper.

I pulled in to have my slow leak in a rear tyre repaired. A taxi pulled in with a punctured rear tyre.

While he removed the tyre I couldn't help but notice his front bald as a baby's bum.  Your language has left a legacy, Dad. 

After returning my eyeballs to their sockets, I politely mentioned the condition of the front tyre to the driver, who happily pointed out that it still had three lines of tread on it. Ah. OK. Mental sarcasm to self: Don't just check taxis for working rear seat belts; also do a rubber check.

Turning this over in my mind, I meandered to the other side of the car and found the other front tyre in identical condition. At least they matched? I guess, physics would dictate that a negative plus a negative makes a positive? Is that how it goes?

Oh. And the tyre in the photograph actually had a nail in it. "It's no-going down..." he reassured me. 

It was probably improving the traction.

Pulling my vast knowledge of the "physics, tyres and rain" cocktail from the matchbox I keep it in, I asked the man how many children he had. "Four daughters."   The Indian man beamed proudly, obviously his greatest achievement under discussion. "How would they manage if you died or got badly hurt?" He shook his head and admitted, they could not.

I explained to him that driving with bald tyres was dangerous for customers, but even MORE dangerous for his family. I ignored the fact that he was probably suffering continual carbon monoxide poisoning from the rust holes. He decided loudly that he was going to tell his boss he MUST change the tyres!!

I asked permission to take a photo of the tyre, and he seemed disappointed that he was not going to be in the photo. Maybe next time.
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Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Boy beside the Trashcan: ARMLESS PIANIST FROM CHINA

There are people in this world that change people's lives, simply by being. This young man is one of them.  Lord, use me, too.

The Boy beside the Trashcan: ARMLESS PIANIST FROM CHINA: "Judge: 'Actually, I got nothing to say. I think we should let people listen to your speaking. How can you.. unbelievably.. it's even hard ..."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Green Means GO

On the way to the gym this morning I pulled up at a set of lights. In Australia, a green light during daylight hours means GO. Here, it means GO if you're game. It is quite ordinary to have three buses and a taxi hurtle through their red light and our green one.

Our kids were discussing this, and settled on the understanding that what we recognise as Rules, Fijians know as Recommendations.  Guidelines, if you please.  Follow them if you like, but we're expecting you won't.  It's an unspoken, unwritten Rule of their own.



Encouragement comes in many forms. Two years ago, our family in Australia suffered an attack of high magnitude. As a tsunami of pain and disbelief consumed us, the Lord spoke clearly with Revelation 2:22.

Rev 2:22 I am about to lay her low, along with her partners, as they play their sex-and-religion games.
Rev 2:23 The bastard offspring of their idol-whoring I will kill. Then every church will know that appearances don't impress me. I x-ray every motive and make sure you get what's coming to you. The Message.

It was a hugely encouraging word, but God began to turn this word into regular hugs from Him, on both sides of the Pacific. All of us experienced daily 2:22's flashed at us. From digital clocks, to numberplates, to signposts. We began to laugh, every time another 2:22 would appear. The Lord was continually reminding us that He is in control.

Thankyou,  Lord,  for your comfort... even when we're not looking for it.
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Squash Tactics

Ordinarily, at our local squash court, a dollar gets the use of a hire ball. Under our expertise, it regularly zooms through the rusted chicken wire ventilation near the roofline. A quick scamper out the back and over a fence usually brings the ball back into play. Not so the balls that lodge with amazing dexterity in the crevices between the roof beams and metal sheeting. These balls are doomed to remain, up with the solitary jogger hanging over a rusted fluoro, and a flip flop jammed artistically and unbelievably in the centre of the 15 foot high ceiling. For this reason, we don't buy our own $8 balls, we hire.

On the weekend the kids had a couple of hours booked, but arrived to find the one solitary surviving hire ball had a split in it. The lady at the desk smiled and helpfully pointed out the fact that she'd sticky-taped it together. A squash ball, Fiji Style. Obviously the lady has never played the game.

It made me think.

In what areas of my life am I using emotional stickytape, smilingly hiding the hole beneath? Lord, heal my wounds.

Eph 1:4 Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. (The Message)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


The insanity of the culture chasm between my Australian thinking and Fiji's reality reminds me of balancing midway on a loosely strung, rope ladder. And someone on the Fijian end is kicking the pegs.  Flexibility is a valuable asset here.

Speaking of ladders, the other day we had workmen here.   One man was on the roof, and another was balanced at a precarious angle off the second-top step of his ladder.  It was shifting wildly, and then I saw why.  The top of the ladder, the actual bit that holds the front to the back, had all the rivets broken, and had been loosely tied together with nylon twine.

My suggestion that the cost of repairing the ladder would be less than the cost of repairing a broken leg, was met with a nod and a wide toothy grin. I couldn't help but wonder how long he'd have his teeth for.

"I prefer a flexible heart to an inflexible ritual." Jesus. (Mt 12:7 The Message)

Dogs with Fleas and Other Words of Wisdom

Ask me what statement affected my teenage years more than any other and I'm torn between two.

"If you lay down with dogs, you get up with fleas."
or it's sibling, "Play with fire, and you're gonna get burnt."  
Both these were regularly injected at mysterious intervals, accompanied by a quiet, penetrating gaze.  Often they were backed up with "You're a Big Girl Now.  You'll know what to do."   Considering my father was offering these words of wisdom to an animal loving, teenage pyromaniac, they were probably the right choice.

More than 30 years later, the words hold even more power.  Because I know Dad was right.  Or rather, IS right.  Now, I'm saying it.

It got me thinking.  Doesn't everything in life have potential to shape, mould, nip, burn, irritate, warm, or even pull down and destroy us, if we let it?  And that's the key.  We choose how it affects us.   Not IF, but HOW.

1Thessalonians 5:15-18  And be careful that when you get on each other's nerves you don't snap at each other. Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out.  Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. (The Message)