For The Beauty of the Earth

For some reason this picture triggered a memory of a hymn I used to sing at school assembly.

1.For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies,

Father, unto thee we raiseThis our sacrifice of praise.

2.For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale and tree and flower,
Sun and moon and stars of light,

Father, unto thee we raiseThis our sacrifice of praise

3.For the joy of ear and eye,
For the heart and mind’s delight,
For the mystic harmony
Linking sense to sound and sight,

Father, unto thee we raiseThis our sacrifice of praise.

4.For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth, and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild,

Father, unto thee we raiseThis our sacrifice of praise.

5.For each perfect gift of thine
To our race so freely given,
Graces human and divine,
Flowers of earth and buds of Heaven,

Father, unto thee we raiseThis our sacrifice of praise.

Folliott Sandford Pierpoint (1835-1917)

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“Impossible Dream”

I woke up with this song on my mind this morning. The first version I heard was by Luther Vandross. Have a good day dreaming.

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
And to run where
the brave dare not go

To right the unrightable wrong
And to love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far
To fight for the right
Without question or pause

To be willing to march,
march into hell
For that heavenly cause

And I know
If I’ll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart
Will lie peaceful and calm
When I’m laid to my rest

And the world will be
better for this
That one man, scorned
and covered with scars,
Still strove with his last
ounce of courage

To reach the unreachable,
the unreachable,
The unreachable star

And I’ll always dream
The impossible dream
Yes, and I’ll reach
The unreachable star

The Impossible Dream – composed by Mitch Leigh, with lyrics written by Joe Darion

Start From Where You Are

Let me start from not where I should be but from where I am.
Little by little.
Day after day.
If I keep at it, I will find myself where I wanted to be with a new start line and an expanse of dreams to conquer.
Start from where you are today.

The Blessing of Rain

“The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. (Isaiah 55:10 )

20131024-081557.jpgImage credit http://www.funforfriends.net

Pretty On The Inside, Ugly On The Outside

I’ve never understood plastic surgery from the view point of instilling confidence in a person. How does looking good on the exterior change how you feel about yourself on the inside? So a person suddenly has bigger boobs or bum and everyone starts to complement her (or indeed him); does that truly make the person feel better about herself past the moment of the complement? Do the feelings of inadequacy go away simply because you now look the ‘part’ and people now notice you.

Just so I make myself clear, I’m referring to people who want to change the way they look because they don’t feel good about themselves or have a poor self-image.

I remember growing up and unlike most teenagers, acne decided to take residence on my face in my late teens and pretty much into my late twenties. The scourge of adult acne was not only humiliating but a huge confidence buster. Although I didn’t like how I looked in the mirror, it was more the reaction of others that got me down. To others, it was like I had boils oozing pus rather than acne. And every time someone asked me what I was using, I could have screamed. Having unclear skin seemed to be more an issue for others and that made me all the more anxious to get rid of it. I used every single cream I could find but nothing helped and eventually I decided to face up to the fact that the spots were there to stay. If I’m honest, I felt very ugly with them which wasn’t much of an esteem-boost, particularly as I didn’t feel all that great about myself anyway.

These feelings were heightened when I was around boys.  I remember a spot at university where loads of the popular boys used to sit. It was a pathway to the library from my faculty and these guys were perpetually rooted along that path like trees framing an avenue. The thought of passing through filled me with dread, mainly because I felt ugly and unattractive. One day, I came to the decision that ugly or not, there was nothing I could do to change how I looked. And if I couldn’t change it, then I had to accept myself the way I looked and be happy. Ok maybe not happy but content. 🙂

So I started to walk that cat-walk with my head held high, but on the inside it felt like swimming in a sea filled with piranha ready to bite any moment. I would just look straight ahead and walk all the way to the library without glancing at anyone. I survived. The ground didn’t open and gobble me up. Very soon I was not only talking to some of those boys but sometimes, I would be one of the ‘trees’ lining the avenue.

There were boys who actually saw past my acne and wanted to go out with me. Looking back, that doesn’t sound unusual but when you’re young and you believe that the whole world views you exactly the way you feel about yourself, it’s a bit of a surreal moment when you are asked on a date.

I’m glad I worked from the inside out because it helped to shape my character and ensconced self-acceptance in my veins in a way no other experience could have. It taught me clearly that what I thought about myself was more important than what everyone else thought.

As I get older, I’m not as snobbish about plastic surgery as I used to be. I could definitely benefit from a little nip and tuck here and there. Nonetheless, I find hard to believe that surgery can repair a damaged self-image; it might give it a boost in the right direction but that poor self image will eventually need your attention otherwise you’ve simply succeeded in inverting your self-image – pretty on the outside and ugly on the inside.

Choosing to be ugly on the outside and pretty on the inside is not an easy choice. Children can be cruel and it’s difficult to tell a teenager who’s being bullied for their looks that they are beautiful on the inside. Even I would say pass me the sick bucket but we do need to start building a culture that reverses where beauty counts; in our homes and in our communities.

Life is such that not every duckling turns out to be a beautiful swan but every duckling was created good and can have a beautiful life.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows out of it – The Bible: Proverbs 23:4

*Ugly is not a term I like to use to describe anyone but used for the purposes of describing a perception.

Action is The Antidote to Procrastination

I received a notification from WordPress telling me it has been four years since I registered my blog.  I only started blogging five months ago.  Why did it take me three and a half years to start blogging?  Heaven knows.  Initially, I didn’t want to do it for blogging sake; then I didn’t want to do it in case people didn’t think I was good enough; then I didn’t want to do it because I wanted it to be different from others; then I didn’t want to do it because I was too busy; then I didn’t want to start until I had the time to blog consistently; then I didn’t want to start until I had a unique idea to take me to the heights of blogospheric stardom; then I simply forgot I had registered a blog.
There is always a reason not to do something you’ve always wanted to do.  What if they don’t like me?  What if I’m not good enough?  What if someone else is better than me? What if I come off as unintelligent or worse still stupid?  What if I fail?  What if I don’t like it?  What if I don’t find it fulfilling?  Fact – there is always a what if!
Wordle: Procrastination

Everyone has plans.  Everyone has dreams.  Everyone has a desire to do something more or different with their lives.  Plans do not make a difference until they are ignited by action.  Actions are what make us stand apart from everyone else.

I don’t care if I fail at blogging.  What matters is that I have accomplished something I have wanted to do for a very long time and it is very fulfilling.  I have ticked something off my bucket list.  What about you?

Happy Anniversary!

You registered on WordPress.com 4 years ago!

Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging!

No one starts with the Sistine Chapel

Check out this post. I totally agree. Too often we are in too much of a hurry to succeed.

How Leaders Manage

MichelangeloDavide

Do you ever get the feeling that you should be further along than you currently are?  Are you living up to the dreams and goals you set for yourself when you were younger? If you are like many people, the answer is probably no.  You haven’t paid off that debt that has been lurking over your head for years that you have been promising yourself you would.  You haven’t increased your income to what you promised yourself.  You haven’t reduced you outgo either.  What about your weight?  I’m guessing you’re no supermodel, but are you where you want to be when you step on the scales?

For more get the eBook:

Shape Your Character in 47 Days cover 4   https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/433783

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R.I.P Downton Abbey or Good Marketing Strategy?

On Sunday I watched Downton Abbey for the first time. Sure I have seen bits of it but I’ve never consciously sat down to watch it from start to finish. A few of my friends have gushed so much about it, particularly as it was one of the few shows they could watch with their children. So my expectations were to watch a program to make me relax, unwind and ready for the week ahead. To be fair, up until the last ten minutes, I actually found the whole ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ theme quite hilarious and made a comment to my husband about how as an actor, it probably wouldn’t matter much if you were part of the Upstairs or Downstairs cast. And then BOOM! The producers of Downton Abbey decided they would shake things up a little with the rape of Anna Bates; albeit behind closed doors.

If I’m honest, it did shake me up a bit. Largely because I wasn’t expecting it and for the next hour I was unsettled. I’m not likely to watch it again, but then again, I didn’t necessarily find the previous forty minutes interesting either. Shortly after, I went on to twitter to see what people were saying and my goodness, all of hell, and its cohorts, had broken loose upon the producers of Downton Abbey.

From an outsiders viewpoint, I did not get the impression that Downton was losing it’s place in the ratings league. On the contrary, I’ve always been fascinated by just how many people tweet about it and watch it religiously. Most of the people I know watch it because they enjoy period dramas but also because it was one of the few T.V programmes at the moment that was pure escapism. Downton fans don’t watch it to be reminded about the real world. Of course they are aware that sexism and misogyny were rife in that era but if they wanted to see that, they would have been watching Mad Men, The Sopranos or Boardwalk Empire instead.

Entertainment is a business and like any business, you simply can’t put out a good product and expect people to buy. A product, however good, needs to be promoted rightly so that the right people would find it in the right place at the right price. In marketing terms, this is known as the Marketing Mix or the 4 Ps of Marketing’.

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It would appear that the producers of Downton have made a business decision to promote their product differently. I think they might have misjudged the profile of their viewers but only time will tell if a sufficient number of people will actually stop watching it as a result of this story line. On the other hand, the producers might just have succeeded in breaking into a fresh pool of viewers who might prefer a grittier version of Downton.

Again in business, it’s essential that you manage the life cycle of your product. The critical point is to judge when your product is getting to the maturity phase as this is when you need to decide whether to improve or modify the product (or service) in order to hold on to your market share. To gain competitive advantage, this modification needs to happen before your product is in the decline phase otherwise it’ll be too late.

20131009-074123.jpg http://productlifecyclestages.com

I can’t help but remember a long long long time ago in the 80s when ABC sorely misjudged the viewers of Moonlighting, a hit TV series starring Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis as Maddie Hayes and David Addison (swoon) respectively. Moonlighting died a sudden death the moment producers turned their love-hate relationship into a romantic relationship. We watched Moonlighting because of the sparks that flew between Maddie & David and the unconsummated sexual tension between them made it all the more exciting to watch. The moment they got together romantically, the sparks died and the ratings plummeted.

Moonlighting only lasted three years, just as long as Downton Abbey has been running. It will be interesting to see if they have dug their own grave or cleverly judged the show as reaching it’s peak; thereby deciding to break into a new market before it hits a decline. Who knows. Nevertheless, I shall watch the unfolding of the next chapter of Downton with bated breath. (forgive the pun)

Easy Like Saturday Morning

I could do something today, but I’m not going to.
I’m going to rest, concentrate on getting my home back in shape and did I mention rest.
I could do something today. There is museum to go to, friends to see, a movie to watch; but I’m not going to.
I’m going to bond with my family and just be silly with my kids.
I could do something today, fill my time with activity upon activity. Generally get busy doing something but I’m not going to.
I am going to take some time to breath.
I could do something today. I could panic about next week and all the things I need to get done; but I’m not going to.
I’m going to live in the moment and just let the day be.
I could do something today. I could put together a plan for several projects and start preparing for the future.
Truly, I could do many things today, but I won’t.