Friday, 25 June 2010

How Things Come Round

Fleming was a poor Scottish farmer. One day at work in a field he heard a cry for help. Following the sound, Fleming came to a deep bog, in which a boy was stuck up to his chest, screaming and sinking. Farmer Fleming tied a rope around his own waist and the other end to a tree, and waded into the bog. After a mighty struggle in which it seemed they would both perish, the exhausted farmer pulled himself and the boy to safety. He took the lad back to the farmhouse, where Mrs Fleming fed him, dried his clothes, and when satisfied he had recovered, sent him on his way home.

The next day a carriage arrived at the Fleming's humble farmhouse. An well-dressed man stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy whom Fleming had saved. "You saved my son's life," said the man to Fleming, "How can I repay you?"

"I don't want payment," Fleming replied, "Anyone would have done the same."

At that moment, Fleming's own young son appeared at the farmhouse door.

"Is he your son?" the man asked.

"Yes," said Fleming proudly.

"I have an idea. Let me pay for his education. If he's like his father, he'll grow to be a man we'll both be proud of."

And so he did. The farmer's son attended the very best schools, graduated medical college, and later became the world-renowned nobel prize-winning scientist and discoverer of penicillin, Sir Alexander Fleming.

It is said that many years later, the grown man who'd been saved from the bog as a boy, was stricken with pneumonia.

Penicillin saved his life.

This blog is linked to my other  Celebration

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Remembering Important People

Since beginning this blog 178 days ago I have done much remembering of people in my life. Those who I have worked with those who have helped me and those I have been fortunate enough to help. One person I have never mentioned, and that is remiss of me is probably the one person who made my change of life possible.

I have already told how I got involved writing music and modern hymns while still 20 and wild. How I became friendly with a minister who encouraged me to think of my future. This minister told me of an evening class to be held in the university. He was wise enough to know he would not on his own convince me of the existence of a god. I decided to give it a try.

On my first night there I noticed the other attendees were mainly old ladies. I must have looked so odd standing there in their midst. My hair was halfway down my back and I was dressed in jeans and an old shirt.

There was one old lady came over to speak to me. She introduced herself to me as Agnes Ross. We talked most of that evening. The next evening I went she was waiting outside the hall dressed in her expensive fur coat. Again we chatted over coffee and after the lecture. This went on for the duration of the course.

Never once did she try to change my thinking, she just listened and commented. When I told her I intended to try and get to collage she offered to purchase the books I might need. When I got the needed qualifications for collage she invited me for dinner, there she offered to assist me for a further year if I considered not taking the collage place and trying for university. She introduced me to the dean of the faculty of divinity who offered to manage my studies.

My life had made a turn all down to an old lady in a fur coat. Amazing really because I forgot to mention I had this thing about old ladies and fur coats from the highbrow parts of Edinburgh. But then as you see what did I know about real people, I was so full of prejudices I had a hard time seeing past the fur.

Oh one other thing, it is no accident that my son is named Ross.

In the most unexpected places move the saints of the earth.

This blog is linked to my other. Self

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

There is Always Time for the Important Things in Life

Let me begin by apologising that I have not been leaving as many comments as normal on all those marvellous blogs I read. I have so many tasks to get done before I leave to go on holiday at the weekend. Also I am looking after my allotment and that of Archie while he is off on holiday.

Even as I write this I hear myself say, excuses excuses. Yesterday I did have a very busy day and I did read blogs and if I had really made the effort I should have posted my comments.

I remember telling my students at exam time how important time management was. That there was never ever an excuse for not being prepared for the important things in life. It is so true, yesterday I did find time to paint.

I also remember the story of the lecturer. A lecturer at a university is giving a pre-exam lecture on time management. On his desk is a bag of sand, a bag of pebbles, some big rocks and bucket. He asks for a volunteer to put all three grades of stone into the bucket, and a keen student duly steps up to carry out the task, starting with the sand, then the pebbles, then the rocks, which do not all fit in the bucket.

"The is an analogy of poor time management," trills the lecturer, "If you'd have put the rocks in first, then the pebbles, then the sand, all three would have fit. This is much like time management, in that by completing your biggest tasks first, you leave room to complete your medium tasks, then your smaller ones. By completing your smallest tasks first you spend so much time on them you leave yourself unable to complete either medium of large tasks satisfactorily. Let me show you.."

And the lecturer re-fills the bucket, big rocks first, then pebbles, then sand, shaking the bucket between each so that everything fits.

"But Sir," says one student, slouched at the back of the theatre, "You've forgotten one thing.."

At which the student approaches the bucket, produces a can of lager, opens it and pours into the bucket. "No matter how busy you are," quips the student with a smile, "There's always time for a quick beer."

I promise before I leave to make time to leave a parting comment and maybe while on holiday to do the same.

This blog is linked to my other.  The Tempest

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

No Sales

It happens from time to time, I sell no paintings for what seems like a long time. Often it is not as long as it seems. I begin to ask why and what can I do? I thought for a while I had got over it, but there I was last night sitting relaxed in the sun having had a nice meal outdoors, when it happened again. I started thinking what was the last painting I sold? What can I do to get my work out there more and noticed more?

I stopped at that point, gave myself a shake. I went into the house and poured a nice cold ale and relaxed. I am heading off on holiday at the weekend why am I getting myself uptight just now. More important I have tried some new things with my art and given the time I might move even further. But I have to keep life in perspective.

I sat with my cold ale and thought of the story of the fisherman and the management consultant.

A management consultant, on holiday in an African fishing village, watched a little fishing boat dock at the quayside. Noting the quality of the fish, the consultant asked the fisherman how long it had taken to catch them.

"Not very long." answered the fisherman.

"Then, why didn't you stay out longer and catch more?" asked the consultant.

The fisherman explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.

The consultant asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

"I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and have an afternoon's rest under a coconut tree. In the evenings, I go into the community hall to see my friends, have a few beers, play the drums, and sing a few songs..... I have a full and happy life." replied the fisherman.

The consultant ventured, "I have an MBA and I can help you...... You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat. With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have a large fleet. Instead of selling your fish to a middleman, you can negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to a city here or maybe even in the United Kingdom, from where you can direct your huge enterprise."

"How long would that take?" asked the fisherman?

"Oh, ten, maybe twenty years." replied the consultant.

"And after that?" asked the fisherman.

"After that? That's when it gets really interesting," answered the consultant, laughing, "When your business gets really big, you can start selling shares in your company and make millions!"

"Millions really? And after that?" pressed the fisherman.

"After that you'll be able to retire, move out to a small village by the sea, sleep in late every day, spend time with your family, go fishing, take afternoon naps under a coconut tree, and spend relaxing evenings having drinks with friends."

Now that sounds like a familar tale. I gave up teaching to do just that.

This blog is linked to my other  Arran Summer

Monday, 21 June 2010

Those Three Again

I hope all the fathers reading this had as nice a day as I had. Yesterday the sun shone all day. My wife brought her father down to visit. In spite of the heat he wanted a bowl of homemade soup. I made him some cock-a-leakie from produce from my plot. Later my daughter my son and daughter in law visited. We had a meal out in the garden and then we had a relaxed time until it was bed time.

My son is a lawyer, he was telling me how in some intensive negotiations humour often plays its part in keeping meetings relaxed and tension free. Often the lawyer is the but of the joke but under the circumstances he feels that may be a good thing.

He had me laughing when he told me he had used one or two of the stories I had told you on here. He was saying he had used the tale of the lawyer the doctor and the minister at the funeral, one I shared sometime ago.

I asked if he had heard what happened to these three after that event. He said I had not. So hear it is.

The three became friendly and had agreed to play golf together each Monday morning and then have lunch together. This had become a practice and each had looked forward to the meetings.

One day they were all playing their round of golf. In front of them there was a foursome. They were playing very slow and the three were having to wait. They became to grumble about the time they were taking. Eventually they went to the club secretary whom they saw playing not far behind them. They complained saying that the players in front were not good enough to be on the course. The club secretary explained that three of the four were in fact blind. They were firemen who had lost their sight while saving the clubhouse from destruction in a fire.

The three fell silent. The minister said it was a shame he would say some special prayers for them. The doctor said he would approach an ophthalmic surgeon friend to see if there was anything that could be done. The lawyer thought for a moment and then turned to the secretary and said, “Why cant they play during the night.”

Sometimes we can just never find it in ourselves to have sympathy for the struggles of others. I give thanks that I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by people who care.

This blog is linked to my other. The Eye of the Storm

Sunday, 20 June 2010

It Is Never Too Late To say I Love You

Every so often somebody thanks me for this blog and I feel overwhelmed. I am a very fortunate person to have so many lovely people reading this and leaving comments. I read all of your blogs and some days make comments but every day I leave this computer to face the day uplifted from reading what others are saying and doing.

This thought, and some comments I read on a blog yesterday brought back many moments from my past where I have just smiled. Let me explain. Somebody was speaking of her husband and how he is so different from her and how sometimes she wish he was more thoughtful and deep in discussion. In the next sentence she said how much she loved him. This brought a number of comments from readers saying something similar. I laughed.

The number of times in my ministry I heard husbands and wives telling me little such secrets. Ignoring the shortcoming, and confessing the love. I always had the same response, “You really should be telling your husband/wife this not me. Do it before it is too late.”

Let me tell you a lovely story, well it moved me.

There was once a man and woman who had been married for more than 60 years. They had shared everything. They had talked about everything. They had kept no secrets from each other except that the little old woman had a shoe box in the top of her closet that she had cautioned her husband never to open or ask her about. For all of these years, he had never thought about the box, but one day the little old woman got very sick and the doctor said she would not recover. In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the shoe box and took it to his wife's bedside. She agreed that it was time that he should know what was in the box. When he opened it, he found two crocheted doilies and a stack of money totalling £15,000. He asked her about the contents. "When we were to be married," she said, "My grandmother told me the secret of a happy marriage was to never argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep quiet and crochet a doily." The little old man was so moved; he had to fight back tears. Only two precious doilies were in the box. She had only been angry with him twice in all those years of living and loving. He almost burst with happiness. "Honey," he said, "that explains the doilies, but what about all of this money? Where did it come from?" "Oh," she said, "That’s the money I made from selling the doilies."

I wonder what it is that my wife keeps in that big chest hidden in her wardrobe

This blog is linked to my other. Too Late To Crow Today

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Saying Farewell

During my ministry I served as minister to three parishes. This meant that I also left three parishes to move to places new. I always found the time of leaving a moving experience, no pun intended. There was a kind of tradition in the Church of Scotland that there was a farewell gathering when stories were told and gifts given. I always left these events full of emotion. It was hard to listen to all the things people said about your ministry.

My friend used to tell the story of his leaving a church to move to another. He said that if he had known they all loved him so much he would not have moved. The point he was making was that we should be more open with the praise and the criticism might not matter. How true he was. It is much easier to criticise than it is to offer praise, so it would seem.

I always moved on with a feeling of some sadness but looking forward to the challenge of pastures new. I also feel some sense of pride, I hope not foolish pride, in the fact that each of the churches I left at a later date invited me to return.

There is a true story about one such leaving, not of me but of the local priest in the Roman Catholic Church. After twenty-five years in the same parish, the priest was saying his farewells at his retirement dinner. An eminent member of the congregation - a leading politician - had been asked to make a presentation and a short speech, but was late arriving.

So the priest took it upon himself to fill the time, and stood up to the microphone:

"I remember the first confession I heard here twenty-five years ago and it worried me as to what sort of place I'd come to... That first confession remains the worst I've ever heard. The chap confessed that he'd stolen a TV set from a neighbour and lied to the police when questioned, successfully blaming it on a local scallywag. He said that he'd stolen money from his parents and from his employer; that he'd had affairs with several of his friends' wives; that he'd taken hard drugs, and had slept with his sister and given her VD. You can imagine what I thought... However I'm pleased to say that as the days passed I soon realised that this sad fellow was a frightful exception and that this parish was indeed a wonderful place full of kind and decent people..."

At this point the politician arrived and apologised for being late, and keen to take the stage, he immediately stepped up to the microphone and pulled his speech from his pocket:

"I'll always remember when Father Murphy first came to our parish," said the politician, "In fact, I'm pretty certain that I was the first person in the parish that he heard in confession."

There you go then what more can I say. Praise where it is due and punctuality two good things to remember.

Have a great weekend.

This blog is linked to my other. Emotions

Friday, 18 June 2010

The Ways of People

Yesterday I passed through the place of my birth. I saw the shop I used to serve customers in when I first left school. I left school at the age of 15 because, in the opinion of the head teacher, further education would be a waste of my time. In his opinion I would never be more than a manual labourer. I do not know if he ever found out how wrong he was, but that is history now. Yesterday I chuckled as I remembered some of the events of those early working days.

The customers each had their own ways and pleasing them could sometimes be difficult. I remember the lady who after getting all the meat she wanted asked for a bone for making soup. I went into the back shop and brought a lovely big knuckle bone. She asked how much it would be. When I told her I would give it to her for free she refused to take it. She was sure there had to be something wrong with it. I took it back through and split it in half and told this one would cost her a small amount. She left happy.

The staff at an old people's home were puzzled when one of the residents began gargling with TCP. They asked her why but all she would say was that something had happened at the post-office. This is what actually occurred.

The old lady, who rarely ventured out, had visited the post office to post a letter.

She bought a stamp, and since there was a long queue behind her she stepped aside. She put her change in her purse, licked the stamp and put it on her letter. Despite pressing and thumping and licking it again, the stamp failed to stick.

"Excuse me, this stamp won't stick," said the old lady.

"You need to peel the paper off the back," explained the clerk.

The old lady put on her spectacles, fiddled for a few seconds to peel off the backing paper - and then licked the stamp again.

"It still won't stick," interrupted the old lady again.

"It's a self-stick stamp," said the assistant.

"Well this one isn't sticking at all - there's something wrong with it," demanded the old lady.

"Well it won't stick now because you've licked it."

"Well I'm totally confused now," said the old lady.

"Just give it here and I'll post it for you," said the cashier, and doing her best to explain continued, "These new stamps don't need licking. They are self-sticking. They save time. They are already sticky."

The old lady continued to look blankly at the assistant.

"Look," said the well-meaning but desperate post-office clerk, "Just imagine they've already been licked..."

Which sent the old lady scurrying out of the door and across the road to the chemist.

I wonder if there are things I do that make others look at me and ask why.

This blog is linked to my other.1812 Overture

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Making The Best Of What We Have

Good morning today is a new day and I am going to make the best of it, as a good friend of mine says often. I often joke about the man I meet every morning, the one who lives at the back of my mirror. He looks so much older than me and not at all the person I believe I am.

He invites me every morning to feel depressed, but I try my very best to decline the invitation. I had an old aunt who lived to the ripe old age of 103. I cannot remember a single time I met her that she was not positive and full of life, a message she handed on to myself and later my daughter. One of the most amazing things is that no matter how long she had lived she was still surrounded by friends, right up to her last day on earth. Her positive outlook was a magnet to others.

A very old lady looked in the mirror one morning. She had three remaining hairs on her head, and being a positive soul, she said, "I think I'll braid my hair today." So she braided her three hairs, and she had a great day.

Some days later, looking in the mirror one morning, preparing for her day, she saw that she had only two hairs remaining. "Hmm, two hairs. I fancy a centre parting today." She duly parted her two hairs, and as ever, she had a great day.

A week or so later, she saw that she had just one hair left on her head. "One hair huh," she mused, "I know, a pony-tail will be perfect." And again she had a great day.

The next morning she looked in the mirror. She was completely bald.

"Finally bald huh," she said to herself, "How wonderful! I won't have to waste time doing my hair any more.”

Now is that not the way to start your day? Making the very best of what we have and thinking positive.

This blog is linked to my other where today I will apologise for the art used here. The Positive Man

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Being Your Own person

Such good comments from people yesterday, it seems that we all agree that we should accept people as we find them. It is as I said yesterday, the way to meet some wonderful people. It is good that there are so many people always willing to offer a helping hand or some advice. But beware.

An old lady friend of mine tells the story of the day she was returning from the library. She saw three young school boys in their uniforms and with there school bags. They were each stretching to reach the bell of the front door of the house. One had a stick and was trying to use this. She thought, “Mothers, what are they coming to, do they not realise their son is at the door?” She goes across and rings the bell. The three young boys promptly say, “Run lady she will be out in a minute and she is always angry.” Off they sped jumping the garden fence as they went.

There is a story of the Master. One day he is teaching his students and he found himself on the receiving end of a fierce outburst of abuse from a bystander, who was for some reason very angry.

The master listened patiently while the stranger vented his rage, and then he said to the students and to the stranger, "If someone gives a gift to another person, who then chooses to decline it, tell me, who would then own the gift? The giver or the person who refuses to accept the gift?"

"The giver," said one student after a little thought. "Any fool can see that," added the angry stranger.

"Then it follows, does it not," said the master, "Whenever a person tries to abuse us, or to unload their anger on us, we can each choose to decline or to accept the abuse; whether to make it ours or not. By our personal response to the abuse from another, we can choose who owns and keeps the bad feelings."

Or to put it in much simpler language we do not need to accept the invitation to be miserable.

Thanks once again for the great feedback I hope today you only meet people who invite you to feel joy. So glad to hear Jerry say that he is getting through his difficult period an invitation to joy indeed.

This blog is linked to my other. Be Still

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Accept people As They Are

Yesterday I was down at my garden plot, a spot of weeding and watering of my plants. I always find such moments a time to consider and think. Here I was working in the soil about three miles from where I had been born and brought up. I had not come very far in life when you consider it. I used to walk past these very plots with my father as a young boy, and watch as the owners then worked the soil. The very soil I was now working.

In reality I had moved a long way. I had changed profession three times and in the process changed the lives of many people. In the process I have been fortunate to meet some wonderful people, and as I looked over at Archie in his plot I saw I still was. I have been very fortunate because I have been allowed into the lives of people in a very intimate way. I wondered why?

As I stopped for a coffee and one of my favourite chocolate biscuits I realised why, as I remembered two very true and in there own way funny stories.

The first was of the young girl who obviously came from a very poor family. She and some friends used to come into my classroom first thing every morning. Life’s bullied and unwanted. This girl every day brought me a biscuit for my first coffee. One day I said to her, “You should not do this; your mother cannot afford to give me biscuits every day.” She replied, “Ah, its ok my mum works in the factory, she brings that one out for you each day in her knickers.”

The other very true story was the one where a girl who worked in the same factory was being interviewed on the radio. She had worked in the factory for fifteen years doing the same job. She explained her job to the rather snooty interviewer. Her job was to take biscuits off the line and pack them in boxes. When asked if she liked her job she told the interviewer that she had a laugh and had many friends in the factory. The interviewer could not believe her. “Do you never get bored?” she asked. “No,” said the interviewee, “they change the biscuits from time to time.

I have been blessed because I have always been able to accept people on their terms and unlike the interviewer impose my way of life and values onto others. What I value may not be the same as others and what makes me happy may be a bore to others.

May today bring you happiness in what ever you do.

This is the way of the Tao.

This blog is linked to my other. Dave

Monday, 14 June 2010

The Examination

I was reading Kathleen's blog the other day, where she was telling of her last days at school before the summer vacation. She has ended up taking an awkward schedule next year. This happened because she is a kind and caring person. The behaviour of her fellow teachers, was to say the least, shocking, and at its worst petty minded.

It reminded me of my teaching days. My first and last thoughts were always for my students. There were times when that became very difficult when teachers, whom one expected more of behaved worse than the students.

As I have said before, or more than one occasion, the bad times were more than compensated by the joys of seeing students grasp a lesson and move on. Occasionally an exceptional event would happen that put everything into its place and you became aware that you had indeed changed a life.

There is the story of the philosophy examination. The students were gathered and ready. It was explained to the class that the maximum time was an hour. There was no maximum or minimum number of words to be written. If students were finished they were to leave their work on the desk and leave quietly.

The Master placed a chair on the desk at the front of the room. He then wrote on the chalkboard , “Using all that you have learned this term prove that this chair does not exist.”

Pens moved over the paper. Scoring out and writing was going on all over the room. Some students wrote pages and pages, others worked hard and studiously. One student however, was finished in less than two minutes. He folded his answer and left.

When the marks were posted the following week, the class were amazed to see he had an A1, he had after all written very little.

His answer was simple and to the point. He had written, “What chair?”

When the student has surprised the master then the master has been a good teacher. Who will you help to the next stage without knowing it?  Do not be deterred from the path by the complaints of others.

This blog is linked to my other.  The Wall

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Supportive Parents

Well it has started the world cup I mean. It is almost impossible to avoid it here in the uk. England are playing in it and that means that it is the main topic of all news broadcasts. Here in Scotland we are used to not having a team involved. Does that mean that we switch our allegiance to England? No. In fact in Scotland the team being supported by the majority of people seems to be the one that is playing against England.

I am so glad that I am really not much of a football fan at all, so I feel no real need to be interested in what is happening and can watch most of the games from a neutral standpoint.

My nephew lives and works in England and he has to live with the hype day in and day out. It is no surprise then that one of my happy moments yesterday came from him.

He told me the story of Snow White and the seven dwarfs. Snow White used to see them all off to work in the mines, while she stayed at home and cleaned. At lunchtime she would take their lunch boxes to the mine. One day she went and noticed there had been a pitfall. She shouted into the mine, “Hello are you all ok?” There was no answer so she shouted again, “Hello are you all ok?” She heard a faint voice coming from afar. “England for the world cup.” She dropped to her knees and prayed, “Thank you God, at least dopey is still alive.”

That I promise is my last remark on the world cup. As far as being a supporter goes I want to be a good supporter of my family. There with the ever ready ear, and the word of support.

There is a story of the bearded lady and the world’s strongest man. The lived and worked with the circus. They became man and wife and soon the bearded lady was expecting and child. The ringmaster asked them, “How are you, are you well?” The bearded lady replied, “Yes I am just fine, we have great plans for our child, we want to be good supportive parents”

“What is it you want, a boy or a girl?” asked the ringmaster.

"Oh, we really don't mind as long as it's healthy," said the Bearded Lady, "And it fits into the cannon."

I hope you weekend is going well and if you are supporting a team you are happy when they play no matter the result..

This blog is linked to my other  The Gathering

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Not Everything is as it Seems

I did not manage to finish the painting I am working on yesterday. I decided I wanted to go back to another abstract with texture. I enjoy painting those but I am aware they are very much a personal thing and they lie about long after they have been completed.

What I like about those paintings is just simply that they are never all that they seem to be to. Life is always full of little unexpected pleasures and often in the most unexpected places. Yesterday I walked a road I have run often since moving here. The road runs along the bottom a banking that has always been sparse in vegetation. Yesterday it was covered in wild orchids beautiful deep purple flowers. How I was wishing I had my camera. The unexpected in the last place I would have thought.

A story that has an unexpected turn made me laugh I hope it does for you also.

The men were gathered in a golf club locker room discussing the good and the bad shots they had played..

A mobile phone rings.

"Yes I can talk," says the man answering the call, "You're shopping are you? That's nice."

The listening men smile to each other.

"You want to order those new carpets? And they'll include the curtains for an extra five hundred pounds? Sure, why not?"

More smiles among the listeners.

"You want to book that week in the Seychelles? They're holding the price at £800? Sounds like a good bargain. You want a fortnight? If that's what you want, okay by me."

Smiles turn to expressions of mild envy.

"And you want to give the builder the go-ahead for the new conservatory? Ten thousand if we say yes today? Sounds fair; sure, that's fine."

The listeners exchange glances of amazement.

"Okay, see you later; Yes, love you too," says the man, ending the call.

He looks at the other men and says, "Whose phone is this anyhow?"

Now would that not just make you Yell?

Have a lovely day may you find little gems of beauty where you least expect them.

This blog is linked to my other where I discuss the art.  The Yell

Friday, 11 June 2010

The Farmer and the Minister

After leaving university at the end of my divinity degree I had to do some time as an assistant. When it was known that there was an assistant in the Presbytery area other ministers would call on your services to allow them to have a Sunday away. This often meant travelling a distance to small country churches. Some of these churches would have fairly small congregations at the best of times, even smaller when they were aware it was not their own minister.

I remember one Sunday getting lost going round country roads looking for the church I was due to preach in at 10am. Eventually I found it but only after parking the car and trudging across a muddy field. I conducted the service to a small gathering then made my way back over the field. I was then expected at another church where I had to go through the whole service a second time.

At the end of the day I had muddy shoes and trousers, had preached the same sermon twice, to possible a total of twenty-five people. I remember asking if it was worth the time and effort.

I remember later retelling this story to an old farmer who told me the following tale.

An old hill farming crofter trudges several miles through freezing snow to his local and very remote chapel for Sunday service. No-one else is there, except the minister.

"I'm not sure it's worth proceeding with the service – would we not do better going back to our warm homes and a hot drink?" said the minister, inviting a mutually helpful reaction from his audience of one.

"Well, I'm just a simple farmer," says the old crofter, "But when I go to feed my herd, and if only one beast turns up, I sure don't leave it hungry."

So the clergyman, feeling somewhat ashamed, delivers his service - all the bells and whistles, hymns and readings, lasting a good couple of hours - finishing proudly with the fresh observation that no matter how small the need, our duty remains. And he thanks the old farmer for the lesson he has learned.

"Was that okay?" asks the clergyman, as the two set off home.

"Well I'm just a simple farmer," says the old crofter, "But when I go to feed my herd, and if only one beast turns up, I sure don't force it to eat what I brought for the whole herd."

Yesterday I had a conversation with somebody I had never spoken to before. I had seen him around and had asked friends  who he was. Most people knew his name but nobody ever seemed to speak with him. I found him a fasinating character full of wit and wisdom, and I left glad I had taken the time to sit in his company and share some time with him.

Sometimes gems are found in the least expected places.

This blog is linked to my other where I discuss the artwork  The Conspirators

Thursday, 10 June 2010

It Is Time To Rise

Yesterday I was talking by email to a friend, I nearly said an old friend there, a friend from my youth. We were talking about the pastel I did of her granddaughter. Is it not amazing that even in an email you can sense the love. Anyway that is for the other blog. Remembering back to my youth brought some good memories that made me laugh.

The day my mother decided she had had enough of my not tidying my room. I was due to go out with my pal and two girls; yes I think it was a date. They had arrived at my front door and I was all dressed in my best and ready to go. As we walked down the front path my bedroom window opened and all my dirty clothes were flying. There for all to see my underwear hanging from the rose bushes.

Then there were the mornings I used to waken and look at the time. I would lie there and think to myself, “If she does not call me soon and tell me it is time to get up I am going to be late.” There is a crazy logic in there somewhere.

Reminds me of the story of the son who did not want to go to school. I apologise if you have heard it before but it does make me laugh.

A mother repeatedly called upstairs for her son to get up, get dressed and get ready for school. It was a familiar routine, especially at exam time.

"I feel sick," said the voice from the bedroom.

"You are not sick. Get up and get ready," called the mother, walking up the stairs and hovering outside the bedroom door.

"I hate school and I'm not going," said the voice from the bedroom, "I'm always getting things wrong, making mistakes and getting told off. Nobody likes me, and I've got no friends. And we have too many tests and they are too confusing. It's all just pointless, and I'm not going to school ever again."

"I'm sorry, but you are going to school," said the mother through the door, continuing encouragingly, "Really, mistakes are how we learn and develop. And please try not to take criticism so personally. And I can't believe that nobody likes you - you have lots of friends at school. And yes, all those tests can be confusing, but we are all tested in many ways throughout our lives, so all of this experience at school is useful for life in general. Besides, you have to go, you are the headteacher."

It is never too old to learn. We all have to come to terms with reality at some time or other.

This blog is linked to my other where I discuss the artwork  Megan

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

The Athiest

I had a discussion yesterday with a friend about this blog. I was getting concerned that it had possibly served its purpose, over the weekend it seemed nobody read it. She assured me that was not the case; she had in fact read them all. She also reminded me of at least one person who reads this daily. Sure enough there he was yesterday making comment. In the midst of all the things going on in his life, he still makes his positive comments. I write the blog his comments uplift me, and set me up for the next day. This seems like a good arrangement. I also get a lovely invite from Sharon to attend her book of memories launch, which I will make every effort to attend. So let me tell you a story that has its own little message, and one that I hope will start the day for anybody who reads it with a smile, if not a laugh.

A committed atheist (that's someone who steadfastly does not believe in a god of any sort) was on a trekking holiday when he became lost in some dense woods.

A large angry bear, with ten starving cubs back in the cave and claws like kitchen knives, suddenly emerged from the undergrowth.

The atheist screamed in terror, turned and ran. The bear was quicker however, and after a long and desperate chase eventually cornered the atheist in a gully.

The exhausted atheist sank to his knees, shaking.

The bear, seeing that its prey was trapped, moved slowly towards the petrified man, drooling. The bear was drooling too.

The atheist lifted his head, with tears in his eyes, and uttered the words he thought he would never say in all his life: "God help me..."

With these simple three words, a blinding flash of lightning lit up the sky. There was a deafening crash of thunder. The clouds parted. A brilliant light shone down. The forest fell silent. The bear froze still, in a trance. The atheist stood gaping, transfixed.

A voice came loud from above. Louder than twenty pop concerts all happening at the same time. We can safely assume this voice to have been the voice of a god of some sort.

"You atheists make me seriously mad," boomed the god, "You deny me all your life. You tell others to deny me too. You put your faith in all that bloody Darwinian airy-fairy scientific nonsense, and then what a surprise - you get lost because you can't read your stupid map, and now you're about to get eaten by an angry bear all of a sudden you're on your knees snivelling and begging for my help?......... You must be joking..."

The atheist looked down, realising that he was not arguing from a position of strength.

"Okay, I take your point," said the atheist, thinking on his feet, while he still had them, "I can see it's a bit late for me to convert, but what about the bear?... Maybe you could convert the bear instead?"

"Hmmn... interesting idea..." said the god, thinking hard, "...Okay. It shall be done." At which the brilliant light dimmed and vanished; the clouds closed; and the noises of the forest resumed.

The bear awoke and shook its head, a completely different expression on its face. Calm, at peace.

The bear closed its eyes, bowed its head, and said, "For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful, Amen.."

Sometimes changing your belief does not always result in a change in actions. Maybe we need to be sure about what it is we believe before the crisis arises. Decisions made under pressure are seldom wise decisions.

This blog is linked to my other where I discuss the art.  Misty

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

The Landscape Gardener

I had a family who were members of my church who owned a market garden business. It was always a joy to visit them. The staff were happy, and customers loved to visit, or to have the staff work on their gardens or make deliveries - anything from bedding plants to ride-on mowers.

For as long as anyone could remember, the owners were extremely positive happy people.

Most folk assumed it was because they ran a successful business. In fact it was the other way around...

The owner always wore a big lapel badge, saying, “Business Is Great!”

The business was indeed generally great, although it went through tough times like any other. What never changed however was the owner's attitude, and the badge saying Business Is Great!

Everyone who saw the badge for the first time invariably asked, "What's so great about business?" Sometimes people would also comment that their own business was miserable, or even that they personally were miserable or stressed.

Anyhow, the Business Is Great! badge always tended to start a conversation, which typically involved the owner talking about lots of positive aspects of business and work, for example: he loved the pleasure of meeting and talking with different people every day.

Then there was the fun and laughter in a relaxed and healthy work environment and the fascination in the work itself, and in the other people's work and businesses, he seemed really interested. He liked the great feeling when he finish a job and it had worked out well.

The new things you learn every day - even without looking to do so, and lastly the thought that everyone in business is blessed - because there are many millions of people who would swap their own situation to have the same opportunities of doing a productive meaningful job, in a civilized well-fed country, where we have no real worries.

And so the list went on. And no matter how miserable a person was, they'd usually end up feeling a lot happier after just a couple of minutes listening to all this infectious enthusiasm and positivity.

It is impossible to quantify or measure attitude like this, but to one extent or another it's probably a self-fulfilling prophecy, on which point, if asked about the badge in a quiet moment, the business owner would confide:

"The badge came first. The great business followed."

This blog is linked to my other.  Sunflowers

Monday, 7 June 2010

The Elephant and the Flea.

The master came into the room and looked out at his assembled students. He looked at the expectant faces and wondered just what he could say that would be of great value to them. He had just arisen from a sleepless night wondering about the very same thing.

He sat at the front of the room on a cushion, and again looked at his students. There was an expectant hush. The master, usually in a very few words lifted them with something to think about.

The silence was broken by a student standing up and drawing the eye of the master. “Master,” said the student, “what exactly is enlightenment?”

The master produced a banana, peeled it, and started eating. "Is that all? Can't you show me anything else?" the student said. "Come closer, please," the master replied. The student moved in and the master waved the remaining portion of the banana before the student's face. The student prostrated, and left.

A second student rose to address the audience. "Do you all understand?" When there was no response, the student added, "You have just witnessed a first-rate demonstration of enlightenment. Are there any questions?"

After a long silence, someone spoke up. "Master, I am not satisfied with your demonstration. You have shown us something that I am not sure I understand. It must be possible to TELL us what enlightenment is."

"If you must insist on words," the master replied, "then enlightenment is an elephant copulating with a flea."

There are just some things in life that cannot be explained in words. It is at this point the artist is challenged to show. Somebody wrote of one of my paintings yesterday, “This painting makes me think, the texture gives a longing to be touched. It has an ancient Ariel view about it. Good work…. very good work! Five Stars.

That it made the viewer think is enough for me never mind the stars. This is the way of Tao.

This blog is linked to my other  Samadhi

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Banishing the Ghost

We talk often, we artist of the dreaded painters block. I have been so grateful to all the friends I have met on here who have offered such support during my longest ever non productive spell. Now I am not just talking about painting. The same has happened to me in the past in my time of making music. When a tune buzzed around in my head but I could not get it out. Or another time while writing poetry and the words just would not come.

I remember a real classic moment of block, thank goodness the shortest ever. I was conducting a Sunday morning service. Easy enough you would think, considering I did it some times six times on a Sunday. There I was in full flight leading the congregation in prayer. I never wrote my services or sermons just short notes. I came to that point where the congregation joined in with the Lords Prayer. Halfway though it I could not remember the next line. I looked up to see about 900 pairs of eyes looking at me in silence. Not one person thought to just keep going. Then in unison we continued, the block gone.

Here is a little tale of the man who banished his block.

The wife of a man became very sick. On her deathbed, she said to him, "I love you so much! I don't want to leave you, and I don't want you to betray me. Promise that you will not see any other women once I die, or I will come back to haunt you."

For several months after her death, the husband did avoid other women, but then he met someone and fell in love. On the night they were engaged to be married, the ghost of his former wife appeared to him. She blamed him for not keeping the promise, and every night thereafter she returned to taunt him. The ghost would remind him of everything that transpired between him and his fiancé that day, even to the point of repeating, word for word, their conversations. It upset him so badly that he couldn't sleep at all.

Desperate, he sought the advice of the master. "This is a very clever ghost," the master said upon hearing the man's story. "It is!" replied the man. "She remembers every detail of what I say and do. It knows everything!" The master smiled, "You should admire such a ghost, but I will tell you what to do the next time you see it."

That night the ghost returned. The man responded just as the master had advised. "You are such a wise ghost," the man said, "You know that I can hide nothing from you. If you can answer me one question, I will break off the engagement and remain single for the rest of my life." "Ask your question," the ghost replied. The man scooped up a handful of beans from a large bag on the floor, "Tell me exactly how many beans there are in my hand."

At that moment the ghost disappeared and never returned.

A case of know yourself, the master knew that the ghost was the ghost of his own creation.

Oh, the picture at the top is a picture of the strange ghost that resides in my head. No matter what I do I cannot seem to banish him.

This blog is linked to my other blog  Pendo

Saturday, 5 June 2010

The Three Questions

Today I give you just a story. I apologise in advance that it is a long story but I think it is a good one. Maybe even enough for two days thought.

It once occurred to a certain king, that if he always knew the right time to begin everything; if he knew who were the right people to listen to, and whom to avoid, and, above all, if he always knew what was the most important thing to do, he would never fail in anything he might undertake.

And this thought having occurred to him, he had it proclaimed throughout his kingdom that he would give a great reward to any one who would teach him what was the right time for every action, and who were the most necessary people, and how he might know what was the most important thing to do.

And learned men came to the King, but they all answered his questions differently. There was no sense of agreement at all.

All the answers being different, the King agreed with none of them, and gave the reward to none. But still wishing to find the right answers to his questions, he decided to consult a hermit, widely renowned for his wisdom.

The hermit lived in a wood so the King decided to visit him. When the King approached, the hermit was digging the ground in front of his hut. Seeing the King, he greeted him and went on digging. The hermit was frail and weak, and each time he stuck his spade into the ground and turned a little earth, he breathed heavily.

The King went up to him and said: 'I have come to you, wise hermit, to ask you to answer three questions: How can I learn to do the right thing at the right time? Who are the people I most need, and to whom should I, therefore, pay more attention than to the rest? And, what affairs are the most important and need my first attention?' The hermit listened to the King, but answered nothing. He just spat on his hand and recommenced digging.

'You are tired,' said the King, 'let me take the spade and work awhile for you.'

'Thanks!' said the hermit, and, giving the spade to the King, he sat down on the ground.

When he had dug two beds, the King stopped and repeated his questions. The hermit again gave no answer, but rose, stretched out his hand for the spade, and said:

'Now rest awhile -- and let me work a bit.'

But the King did not give him the spade, and continued to dig. One hour passed, and another. The sun began to sink behind the trees, and the King at last stuck the spade into the ground, and said:

'I came to you, wise man, for an answer to my questions. If you can give me none, tell me so, and I will return home.'

'Here comes some one running,' said the hermit, 'let us see who it is.'

The King turned round, and saw a bearded man come running out of the wood. The man held his hands pressed against his stomach, and blood was flowing from under them. When he reached the King, he fell fainting on the ground moaning feebly. The King and the hermit unfastened the man's clothing. There was a large wound in his stomach. The King washed it as best he could, and bandaged it with his handkerchief and with a towel the hermit had. But the blood would not stop flowing, and the King again and again removed the bandage soaked with warm blood, and washed and rebandaged the wound. When at last the blood ceased flowing, the man revived and asked for something to drink. The King brought fresh water and gave it to him. Meanwhile the sun had set, and it had become cool. So the King, with the hermit's help, carried the wounded man into the hut and laid him on the bed. Lying on the bed the man closed his eyes and was quiet; but the King was so tired with his walk and with the work he had done, that he crouched down on the threshold, and also fell asleep -- so soundly that he slept all through the short summer night. When he awoke in the morning, it was long before he could remember where he was, or who was the strange bearded man lying on the bed and gazing intently at him with shining eyes.

'Forgive me!' said the bearded man in a weak voice, when he saw that the King was awake and was looking at him.

'I do not know you, and have nothing to forgive you for,' said the King.

'You do not know me, but I know you. I am that enemy of yours who swore to revenge himself on you, because you executed his brother and seized his property. I knew you had gone alone to see the hermit, and I resolved to kill you on your way back. But the day passed and you did not return. So I came out from my ambush to find you, and I came upon your bodyguard, and they recognized me, and wounded me. I escaped from them, but should have bled to death had you not dressed my wound. I wished to kill you, and you have saved my life. Now, if I live, and if you wish it, I will serve you as your most faithful slave, and will bid my sons do the same. Forgive me!'

The King was very glad to have made peace with his enemy so easily, and to have gained him for a friend, and he not only forgave him, but said he would send his servants and his own physician to attend him, and promised to restore his property.

Having taken leave of the wounded man, the King went out into the porch and looked around for the hermit. Before going away he wished once more to beg an answer to the questions he had put. The hermit was outside, on his knees, sowing seeds in the beds that had been dug the day before.

The King approached him, and said:

'For the last time, I pray you to answer my questions, wise man.'

'You have already been answered!' said the hermit still crouching on his thin legs, and looking up at the King, who stood before him.

'How answered? What do you mean?' asked the King.

'Do you not see,' replied the hermit. 'If you had not pitied my weakness yesterday, and had not dug these beds for me, but had gone your way, that man would have attacked you, and you would have repented of not having stayed with me. So the most important time was when you were digging the beds; and I was the most important man; and to do me good was your most important business. Afterwards, when that man ran to us, the most important time was when you were attending to him, for if you had not bound up his wounds he would have died without having made peace with you. So he was the most important man, and what you did for him was your most important business. Remember then: there is only one time that is important -- Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power. The most necessary man is he with whom you are, for no man knows whether he will ever have dealings with any one else: and the most important affair is, to do him good, because for that purpose alone was man sent into this life!'

This blog is linked to my other. Pendo

Friday, 4 June 2010

There are Many Ways to See.

I spent some time with two very dear friends yesterday, Andy and Eddie. Now Eddie is a marvellous chap. I would doubt if it was possible to have a more loyal friend. I would consider myself a friend of Andy but I know that I will never ever manage to live up to the friendship offered by Eddie. Eddie does what he is told every time, not just when he feels like it, every time. Now how many of us could say that? When Andy is in conversation with friends like me Eddie does not try to grab centre stage and get attention. He sits quietly waiting no matter how long it takes.

When it is just the two of them there is a bond of friendship that is obvious to see. I think by now you will have guessed, or worked it out from remembering me mentioning Andy in the past. Eddie is the guide dog that Andy daily works with, who makes sure Andy gets across the street safely and to his destination. I was teasing Andy yesterday about his colour coordination. I asked him how he managed that. Yes I consider myself a friend enough to ask such questions and know he will not see it as insulting. Yesterday we laughed. If I am coordinated it is purely by luck. He then went on to tell me about the gadget he has that tells him the colours of materials. He feeds a small part of the item over a lens and it speaks out the colour. Andy went on to say he hoped he was wearing black trousers. “I like wearing black trousers,” he said, “silly really when Eddie is a white haired dog.”

I never leave that pair feeling other than uplifted and thoughtful. I thought about that remark a few times after I left Andy. I need to ask him again about that. I am wondering if he likes black because that will be one colour he most certainly does know what it is like and so by contrast he may well know exactly what white is like. I think of this because one day we will paint together, we have this mission in mind. There is no doubt Andy and Eddie make me see the world in a way no other two manage to do, for this I thank them.

There is a story I am sure some of you have heard.

Several students got into a hot argument about God and different religions, and each one could not agree to a common answer. So they came to the master to find out what exactly God looks like, and if he was real.

The master asked his students to get a large magnificent elephant and four blind men. He then brought the four blind to the elephant and told them to find out what the elephant would "look" like.

The first blind men touched the elephant leg and reported that it "looked" like a pillar. The second blind man touched the elephant tummy and said that an elephant was a wall. The third blind man touched the elephant ear and said that it was a piece of cloth. The fourth blind man hold on to the tail and described the elephant as a piece of rope. And all of them ran into a hot argument about the "appearance" of an elephant.

The master asked the students: "Each blind man had touched the elephant but each of them gives a different description of the animal. Which answer is right?"

There are some questions that have many answers, and the only answer that will be correct for you is the one you have found for yourself.

This blog is linked to my other.  A Poppy

More about Guide Dogs  Guide Dogs for the Blind

Thursday, 3 June 2010

The Man Who Smiled

I am sure I have told you that my second love after art is books. My daughter and I have that in common; we are always on the lookout for interesting and new authors. Once a year we go to the Edinburgh Book Festival. It is considered our time. We book in advance from the programme and try to hear as many interesting authors as time and budget will allow.

Together we have had some very interesting and memorable moments. There is always something very special about building up memories with you family. We have had some interesting discussions with authors we read and admire. I have at least two inscriptions in first edition books from authors I hold in high esteem. My daughter already has those books earmarked as hers, when I shake of those old clogs of mine.

Last year the highlight of the festival for me was the interview given by Henning Mankell. He is best known for his character, Kurt Wallander.

It almost started very badly for me. There we were, sitting in our favourite seats. The audience hushed waiting for the first question. My phone rang. My son who hardly ever calls my mobile was calling just at that moment. Henning Mankell looked across and with a huge smile identified the music and made a funny comment about its place in his life. A bad moment had become a special moment, not just for me but the audience.

His interview was moving. Here was a man whose characters are known worldwide. Here is a man who could stop writing now and live comfortably from his earnings for the rest of his life. I was moved to hear what he was doing in so many parts of the world. Responsible for the setting up a school here building medical centres there. He struck me as a man of great integrity and I was moved to emotion as I listened. It was with great pride that I passed my book to him and he laughed again about my phone ringing and signed an inscription in his latest book.

He seemed a man who was moved by the plight of others. One of the things he said he was planning for the future was to try and help those starving in Gazza. He was not doing this as a political gesture but simply because people, especially children were starving.

I have made a point of keeping this blog neutral in all respects. But today he is in my thoughts, and that of my daughter. He was on one of the ships recently trying to bring aid to Gazza and he was one of those taken prisoner.

Today I will think of him and remember the caring man with the big smile.

This blog is linked to my other where you can meet another man with a smile.Les

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Real Wealth

I wonder how often I have listened to conversations where people discuss what they would do if they won a great sum of money. Yesterday I went for a haircut, not something high on my list of priorities. My hairdresser is a lovely chatty girl expecting her first child. So full of enthusiasm she makes what could be a bad experience bearable. We were talking about holidays and the summer. She told me that this year with the coming of the new family there would be no holiday for her, unless she won the lottery.

It made me think back to when I was young and from a very poor home. How often I had dreamt of wealth. Being able to buy whatever I wanted. For a time I almost made it, playing music being self employed I was richer in terms of wealth than most of my friends.

Then I became a minister, not one of the best paid professions. I saw poverty and wealth, both extremes. I saw sadness and happiness. I saw illness and death and I saw joy beyond belief.

I also learned that there are things in life more valuable than wealth in terms of monetary wealth. The following story is just one small insight into what is a great big question of the haves and have nots. It is just something to ponder.

One day, a father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose of showing his son how poor people live. He wanted his son to appreciate what he had given him. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, “How was the trip?”

“It was great, Dad.”

“Did you see how poor people live?” the father asked.

“Oh yeah,” said the son.

“So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father.

The son answered, “I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden, and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden, and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard, and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on, and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others, and serve each other. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us; they have friends to protect them.”

The boy’s father was speechless.

Then his son added, “Thanks, Dad, for showing me how poor we are.”

I should tell you that yesterday I was listening to some old Beatles songs. I really like the one, Money can’t buy you love.

This blog is linked to my other:-  John

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

The Monkey King

Let me begin by thanking you for so many comments yesterday, many that were so moving. It seemed you liked the story of the elephant. To answer the question, was this prompted by the visit of my daughter? The answer is yes.

So let me share another story today this time the animal will be a monkey.

Once there was a monkey king. He was very tall and strong and had wisdom like the sun. In his kingdom, there was a mango tree as big as the moon. The monkeys jumped from branch to branch chattering and eating the lovely fruit that was big and sweet and delicious. Sometimes a ripe mango fell into the river.

One day, the Monkey King strolled downstream and came upon a river palace where a human king lived. "Soon danger will come if the mangoes float downstream," he told the monkeys. "Pick all the mangoes and flowers on the trees and take them deep into the forest."

But one mango, hidden by a bird's nest, was left unseen by the monkeys. When it was large and ripe, it fell into the river and floated downstream where the human king was bathing.

The human king, who was very curious, tasted the beautiful mango. "This is delicious!' he exclaimed.”I must have more. Servants, find all the mangoes and bring them to me at once!"

Deep in the forest, the servants found hundreds of mango trees. In the trees were the monkeys. When the human king heard about the monkeys, he was very angry, "The monkeys are eating my mangoes. Kill them all!" he ordered his archers.

"Very well," said the archers and chased the monkeys to the edge of the forest where they came to a deep cliff. There was no way for the monkeys to escape. Shivering with fright, they ran to the Monkey King asked, "What shall we do?"

"Don't be afraid. I will save you," said their king. Quickly, he stretched his huge body as far as possible and made a bridge over the cliff to a bamboo grove on the other side.

"Come monkeys, run across my back to the bamboo grove," he called. And so the monkeys escaped.

The human king watched all that happened. He was amazed, "This Monkey King has risked his life to save his whole troop! And all I'm doing is being selfish. I have learned a great lesson." Then he called to his archers, "Put down your bows. It isn't right to kill this King of Monkeys."

Forgetting about the mangoes, the human king went back to his palace by the river and ruled kindly and wisely for the rest of his life.

I am not by any stretch of the imagination wealthy in the sense of monetary riches but I am rich in the joy of friends. I am also rich in the fact that I have the ability to bring joy to others, as do most of you who read this blog.

I have seen down the years so many people whose lives were far from happy because they had not discovered what the monkey king did, that happiness comes in the least expected places.

This blog is connected to my other blog:- Silent Thoughts