Friday, 2 February 2018

Escaped as a Bird and Psalm 124


Hello there, 
In my last post I mentioned the book of verse, #Escaped As A Bird, from patients at the #Oshima Leprosy Hospital in Japan. I quoted a poem relating to Christmas. Reading my Bible the other day I was surprised to discover the book’s unusual title in a line of a Psalm. Since the content of the book was written by members of the Christian Poetry Club at the hospital I suppose it was not surprising.

The title, in the context of the whole Psalm, is so very revealing. It gives an insight into the whole picture of the experience of the people, who, because of an illness were forced by the State, between 1907 and 1996, to leave family and home and live in isolation on a small island: Oshima. Their choice of title and Psalm clearly shows their faith in God.
 
Psalm 124

If it had not been the Lord who was on our side,
let Israel now say –
if it had not been the Lord who was on our side,
when men rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us up alive,
when their anger was kindled against us.
Then over us would have gone the raging waters.
 
Blessed be the Lord,
who has not given us
as prey to their teeth!
We have escaped as a bird
from the snare of the fowlers;
the snare is broken and we have escaped!

Our help is in the name of the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

In 2001 a Japanese court ruled that the policy of segregating suffers of leprosy – otherwise known as Hansen’s disease - was unconstitutional and should have been discontinued after effective multidrug therapies were made widely available by the end of the 1950s.

For more info and lots of photos of Oshima I recommend an article: Oshima, the Forbidden Island, by David Billa. He has documented his visit to the island – where he met some of the people still living there – with lots of photos as well as some powerful observations.


Wishing you love and blessings.

Teresa x
PS I hope you like the photo of the red kites which I took when watching feeding time from a hide at #Gigrin Farm in Wales. See: http://www.gigrin.co.uk
  
 

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Dreading Christmas? Take heart!


Christmas is not always an easy time of year. Perhaps you feel sad and lonely. Maybe you think that no one feels as bad as you. But that’s actually not true. There is always someone in the world going through a tough time. Fact is, life is peppered with good times and bad times. The trick is to keep going when things are at their most bleak. When I feel I cannot go on I ask God to please hold me in the palm of His hand. And He always does!

I found my diary from last Christmas Day which read, “There was a gaping Mum-shaped hole in the day. Saddest Christmas ever. One of the saddest days of my life.” It’s just over a year now since we lost her and though it is getting a little easier Christmas will just not be the same without her. But, as a Christian I am celebrating the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ.

I have just come back from church and feel lifted up by the service. The church was packed and the line for Holy Communion a joy to see. Before Mass the priest put the figure of baby Jesus into the crib and blessed it and everyone sang carols. So I have started my Christmas celebrations with my focus on Christ and His birthday. And am now looking forward to a day with the family tomorrow.

Mum was very fond of poetry. Yesterday I came across one of her favourite books. It is an old volume called Escaped As A Bird, with verses from the Christian Poetry Club at the Oshima Leprosy Hospital in Japan. (From 1907 until 1996 those with leprosy in Japan were forced to live in such places.) Intrigued, I read the intro which includes these words, “Instead of being broken on the anvil of pain, suffering and deformity, these suffers have found faith, peace and joy under the ministry of Christian love…”

Here is a poem by a patient called Yamamoto

The wireless brings us songs of Christmas praise

From far and near;

And listening we are one with you today,

Friends, everywhere!

I take heart from those brave words. I hope you do too.

Wishing you a Happy and Holy Christmas.

Teresa x

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

The Spiritual Vibrations of Athens

Just being in Athens - with the ancient temples of the Acropolis at its heart and the word Theos (God) often on the people’s lips - can take you to a higher level of spiritual awareness.

In a land where St Paul himself preached the Gospel, where churches crowd together and the name of the Virgin Mary is constantly on the lips of its people, it is difficult to ignore the spiritual side of life. That elusive spiritual side of our nature is stirred as the very air itself seems filled not just by sunshine but with the whisperings of past deep secrets.
The spiritual side of our multi-dimensional structure is the one that has long been ignored. The trio of mind, body and spirit has been reduced to the duo of body and mind, it is little wonder then that the twenty-first century disease of superficiality has encroached upon mankind and is feeding off the ailing spirit. Yet in rare moments of supreme happiness we can feel the zinging of the spirit as a palpable, living part of our being. This experience is beyond the mind and the body and yet an integral part of it since we three are one.

To truly get the best out of life it therefore follows that unless we take time to nourish all three aspects of ourselves we are not fully living. And since a harmonious life is the most fulfilling one maybe it's time to give that elusive spiritual side a bit of attention. Perhaps you have never given much thought to your spirit that has been described as the 'essential nature of a person'. And yet, with just a little attention you can achieve that balance and perspective that you unconsciously crave - that illusory 'peace of mind'. And when you get a little deeper into your own awareness you will begin to realise that the very craving for peace was your spirit crying out for your attention.
If you want to nourish your spirit you can send out a prayer for someone else. You don't need to use special words, just ask for what you want with a sincere heart. Norman Vincent Peale in his bestselling book The Power of Positive Thinking says of prayer, "Personally, I believe that prayer is a sending out of vibrations from one person to another and to God. All of the universe is in vibration. There are vibrations in the molecules of a table. The air is filled with vibrations. The reaction between human beings is also a vibration. When you send out a prayer for another person, you employ the force inherent in a spiritual universe. You transport from yourself to the other person a sense of love, helpfulness, support - a sympathetic, powerful understanding - and in this process you awaken vibrations in the universe through which God brings to pass the good objectives prayed for. Experiment with this principle and you will know its amazing results."

Friday, 6 March 2015

God Loves You - Yes, You!!!!


God loves you.

He is the Father you have been looking for all of your life – even if you are not aware of it. And here is His love letter to you…

 

My Child,

You may not know me, but I know everything about you Psalm 139:1

I know when you sit down and when you rise up Psalm 139:2

I am familiar with all your ways Psalm 139:3 Even the hairs on your head are numbered Matthew 10:29-31 For you were made in my image Genesis 1:27 In me you live and move and have your being Acts 17:28 For you  are my offspring Acts 17:28 I knew you even before you were conceived Jeremiah 1:4-5 I chose you when I planned creation Ephesians 1:11-12 You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book Psalm 139:15-16 I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live Acts 17:26 You are fearfully and wonderfully made Psalm 139:14 I knit you together in your mother’s womb Psalm 139:13 And brought you forth on the day you were born Psalm 71:6 I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know me John 8:41-44 I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love 1 John 4:16 And it is my desire to lavish my love on you 1 John 3:1 Simply because you are my child and I am your father 1 John 3:1 I offer you more than your earthly father ever could Matthew 7:11 For I am the perfect father Matthew 5:48 Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand James 1:17 For I am your provider and I meet all your needs Matthew 6:31-33

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope Jeremiah 29:11 Because |I love you with an everlasting love Jeremiah 31:3 My thoughts towards you are countless as the sand on the seashore Psalm 39:17-18 And I rejoice over you with singing Zephaniah 3-17 I will never stop doing good to you Jeremiah 32:40 For you are my treasured possession Exodus 19:5 I desire you establish you with all my heart and soul Jeremiah  32:41 And I want to show you great and marvellous things Jeremiah 33:3 If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me Deuteronomy 4:29 Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart Psalms 37:4 For it is I who gave you those desires Philippians 2:13 I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine Ephesians  3:20 For I am your greatest encourager 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 When you are broken-hearted, I am close to you Psalm 34:18 As  shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart Isaiah 40:11 One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes Revelation 21:3-4 And I’ll take away the pain you have suffered on this earth Revelation 21:3-4 I am your father and I love you even as I love my son Jesus John 17:23 For in Jesus my love for you is revealed John 17:26 He is the exact representation of my being Hebrews 1:3 And He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you Romans 8:31 And to tell you that I am not counting your sins 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you 1 John 4:10 I gave up everything I love that I might gain your love Romans 8:31 If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me 1 John 2:23 And nothing will ever separate you from my love again Romans 8:38-39 Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen Luke 15:7 I have always been Father and will always be Father Ephesians 3:14-15 My question is…Will you be my child? John 1:12-13 I am waiting for you Luke 15:11-32

…Love, Your Dad

  Almighty God

 
PERMISSION TO COPY: Father's Love Letter used by permission Father Heart Communications © 1999 www.FathersLoveLetter.com

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Choose a Better Way to Live: Be the Best You Can Be!

Ah, January - the perfect month to make a fresh start to your life! When New Year's resolutions are adding zest to the very air we breathe you can choose to go that extra mile. But how? What? Here is a suggestion: You could simply opt for a change of attitude to a more positive one that serves you better. This switch is a great way to grow - to develop your whole being.

"Developing the self is the most fun thing you can do in life. It's a spontaneous experience of joy."
                                                                                                                             Dr Deepak Chopra

Personal growth is a choice. Actually, if you think about it, our life is made up of the sum of all our choices up to this moment. Hmm. That may set your mind on the path of: Well, when I made one choice such and such happened and it's working well   /  but when I made another choice I didn't like what happened and it seems like I'm stuck with it now. The great thing is that if we are not happy with some of our choices... we may well be able to choose again!

"You've got a lot of choices. If getting out of bed in the morning is a chore and you're not smiling on a regular basis, try another choice."
                                                                                                                               Steven D Woodhull


Admittedly, change is not always an easy thing. However, choosing to change, to grow, is the first and most crucial step towards making it happen.

"That definite decision, the universe conspires to make it happen."
                                                                                                                             Ralph Waldo Emerson


A lesson in avoiding criticism
Okay, let's get specific by looking at one very common problem: Criticism. Being on the receiving end of criticism can be a very painful experience.

Do you attract a lot of criticism? If you do, using the following Blossom Tool could change that.

Blossom Tool
Stop criticising... yourself!

When you stop criticising yourself and start choosing more supportive thoughts you will stop attracting criticism from others. (Wow! What a lot of heartache and aggravation that will save.) This is because people's behaviour towards us tends to mirror our own.

Choosing to put aside criticism will take you a giant step towards your best self. Choose to: (c) Be the Best You Can Be!

Teresa O'Driscoll

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Snail-pace Internet in Welsh Valley

Guest Blogger is author Deborah Lloyd on Signs & Synchronicities Vegetarian recipe is Cauliflower & blue cheese salad

Snail-pace Internet connection in Welsh valley (and elsewhere in Wales)

Dear Friend,
I do not write as often as I want to. I have many things I would share with you… but! Due to extremely slow connection speeds in my little Welsh valley it takes so very long to carry out the simplest of tasks (check and send emails, and so on) that increasingly, I do not have the heart to log on very often these days. I have tried to explain to friends on numerous occasions why I have not responded quickly to their messages on email, Facebook, and so on. But when, recently, a BT engineer told me that the speed of my connection was a feeble .5 to 2.5 and that the optimum is 80+ I can now be specific and am understood.

I have learnt that my problem is widespread throughout rural Wales. The capital, Cardiff, is fine as there is a good consumer base so they are on fibre optic which gives the 80+ speed. In my valley (and elsewhere) hundreds of people have access to the web through a single cable. This means that, for instance, when the kids are home from school, it is pointless trying to log on as even when I connect the loading time is not worth the wait.

This is how a connection speed of .5 to 2.5 works:
* I needed to check an email urgently last week and though it was late evening the process took 60+ minutes and I could not send an email reply so I sent a text instead.   
* A few weeks ago I was going on holiday and needed to check in online and print a boarding pass. This procedure took 90+ minutes and I only printed the outgoing pass, I gave up on the incoming one. I also needed to book a coach journey but by then it was almost 1a.m. and though I was nervous that I wouldn’t get online the next morning I had to risk it. I did get online and the booking procedure took about 90 minutes.
* When I go onto Facebook, ACW Facebook, or O Books Facebook, and so on - to post something / read other people’s posts / comment on things that grab me – I need to do so very quickly before the connection is cut, as so often happens. This is a shame as I really do enjoy catching up with Friends this way. I feel out of the loop and as if I am passing the message that I do not care about my Friends - which couldn’t be further from the truth.

Why do simple tasks take so long?
What happens is that the programmes load like a snail, and moving between pages is as bad. When I am determined to, say, check emails, I have begun to read a book while the loading goes on, which prevents me from wanting to throw the computer out of the window ha, ha. The bigger the programme the slower the procedure. The Facebook programme, for example, is so big that I cannot face the 30+ minutes it takes to reply to messages. So I have asked my Friends to email me instead.

But at least I can often get online these days. When I first came to live here almost two years ago I regularly could not. Then last July the service was down for almost a month. I wasted hour upon hour, day after day, speaking to BT engineers in India (very helpful and polite) who finally sent an engineer to check that the problem was not with my cabling at home. He told me that the local cable had failed. It had been failing since I’d been here.

The cable was renewed but though I could get online occasionally, mostly I could not. One day I spoke to a BT Openreach engineer working locally on another job who explained the problem. The original cable had been 6 miles long. The new cable was 8 miles long. Even at 6 miles most of us were too far away from the Exchange so 8 miles was giving an even worse service. The old cable was being drawn out and a new one would be threaded through in its place, so that the cable length would be 6 miles as before.

The job was done. My connection speed is as poor as before, but I can get online more often. It turned out that I was one of the lucky ones when the cable failed as neighbours who were with a different broadband provider, such as Talk Talk, or whatever, were without Internet access for months. As a BT customer I get the best service possible at the moment in my area.    

Apparently, BT has pledged to bring the rest of Wales up to speed. But when this will happen I have no idea. I recently got a letter from BT saying that they plan to charge their broadband customers £1.50 for each paper bill. Since my service is so poor I am writing to ask them to wave this until they provide a decent speed. I will keep you posted on that. In the meantime, I ask for your patience with email replies and so on.

On a positive note, giving up squandering so much time on the most basic tasks on the Internet means I have been able to concentrate on my next novel. I am happy to report that I am steaming on with it.

If you need to contact me urgently and you know me well enough to have my details please phone or text me. Meanwhile, I wish you a fabulous summer!

Love and blessings

Teresa x


Guest Blog

Signs & Synchronicities  
By Deborah Lloyd  

This morning, I checked my email and there were 33 new messages in the inbox. Driving home from a Reiki session a few hours later, I looked down at my car odometer and the last two digits were 33. Over the past two weeks, I can list six other times that the number 33 jumped out at me!

Since I believe in signs and synchronicities, the meaning is clear to me. My husband and I are in the middle of finding new rental space for our massage and Reiki business. My strongest feelings are calmness and acceptance. I intuitively know it is the right time for a relocation and a refocus. Spirit is sending me affirmations that my intuition is correct - and my peacefulness continues to expand.

When I look back on the many episodes of signs in my life, I simply smile. They come in clusters - I went through a period of finding shiny pennies; another period of angel pictures and figurines showing up in the most unusual places; times of frequent, brilliant rainbows. Every time I was going through some kind of transition (or transformation) - and I thanked God for His Continual Presence in my life.

Synchronicities are amazing coincidences, full of potential meaning, that occur. The Universe lines up these special events to make a point. The truly amazing ones are so fantastic, no one could make them up! And, there are smaller ones, easier to miss. One of the synchronicities that show up in my life frequently is someone mentioning a book. Within a day or two, someone else mentions it. And, soon again, a third person tells me about it. The meaning - there is something I need to learn in that book. I buy, or find, the book immediately because there are messages for me - and I need to hear them - now.

A few years ago, this life lesson was given to me in meditation: "Synchronicities are God's way of getting our attention." When something unusual grabs your attention, think, meditate and pray about it. And, the more attention you give to such signs, the more you get....

Now, back to the number 33. Numerologists believe that 11, 22 and 33 are special spiritual numbers indeed. So, not only am I receiving affirmations that we are on the right track with our business transition, there may be more significant meanings. Ahhhh....this transition is being guided and protected by Spirit, and our energy work will be infused with Love and Peace. Gratitude fills my heart as I contemplate the number 33....[]
Deborah Lloyd shares her healing journey and the 33 (yes, 33) life lessons she learned along the way in her book Believe and it is True: A Story of Healing and Life Lessons  Please see www.deblloydhealing.com to learn more about her story; and follow her on Facebook, at deblloydhealing.
Comment from Teresa
Thank you for this contribution Deborah. I too am always praying for God’s guiding hand in my life and watching for signs.

Thinking of Deborah’s 33 I looked in the Bible at Numbers (fourth book of the Pentateuch) chapter 33 and read: “These were the stages of the journey by the Israelites when they left Egypt in their companies under the leadership of Moses and Aaron. Moses recorded their starting-points in writing whenever they moved on at Yahweh’s order.”  I liked the symmetry there about guidance! 


Vegetarian recipe: Cauliflower & Blue Cheese Salad
With the days getting warmer I am sharing a nutritious salad recipe.

Ingredients


½ small cauliflower - broken into tiny florets
½ small red onion – finely sliced
1 large tomato – roughly chopped
1 celery stick – finely chopped
200 g blue cheese – crumbled

Dressing: juice ½ lemon, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, salt and pepper to taste

Method
Combine all ingredients in salad bowl and mix in dressing stirring well. Serve with crusty bread, or as two portions of side salad with a hot dish such as omelette, soup or quiche.

Invitation to be my next * Guest Blogger: If you have an idea for a post or a veggie recipe to share please contact me on: teresa@teresaodriscoll.co.uk

I welcome your comments on the above.

Coming next: Labyrinth inspiration by author Lisa Barrow