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Beauty

I love patterns!  Patterns of all sorts.  I don’t know what it is but I just love the way different colours, shapes and textures come together.  It seems to be my kind of beauty.  The kind that nourishes my soul.  Visiting the Alhambra in Granada earlier this year was a veritable feast!  I could have stayed for hours on end, soaking up the beauty of the tile patterns!  I was buzzing for days afterwards!

I’m trying to get better at noticing this kind of beauty as I go through life.  I can’t be at the Alhambra every day but there is so much of it around even in ordinary things.

Here are some pics I took that show what I mean.

(This was somewhat inspired by page 11 in Agapé’s Move Magazine (winter 2010).  You can check it out online.  Well, if your computer is a bit newer than mine, you can…  Move Magazine)

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Riding the Wave


It’s the song of the redeemed
Rising from the African plain
It’s the song of the forgiven
Drowning out the Amazon rain
The song of Asian believers
Filled with God’s holy fire
It’s every tribe, every tongue, every nation
A love song born of a grateful choir

Maybe it started in New Zealand. Or in Tonga. Kamchatka maybe? Somewhere the wave started this morning. The wave of people gathering together on a Sunday morning to praise, to sing, to pray, to listen, to learn. To be encouraged and challenged.

China, Laos, Nepal, Tajikistan. Iran, Berlin, Ivory Coast. The wave goes on and on. Greenland, Bolivia, Cuba, Alaska.

Let it rise about the four winds
Caught up in the heavenly sound
Let praises echo from the towers of cathedrals
To the faithful gathered underground
Of all the songs sung from the dawn of creation
Some were meant to persist
Of all the bells rung from a thousand steeples
None rings truer than this

It’s all God’s children singing
Glory, glory, hallelujah
He reigns, He reigns
It’s all God’s children singing
Glory, glory, hallelujah
He reigns, He reigns

Across the miles and across the ages, the wave continues.

“…since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses…” (Hebrews 12:1)

Spine-tingling stuff! Keep riding!

(Words in italics from “He reigns” by the Newsboys)

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Lost in a book

I noticed her on the U Bahn.  A young girl of about 8 or 9, who seemed totally engrossed by the book she was reading.  And it was a big book, too, for someone of her age.  The story had obviously completely captured her imagination.

She got off the train – with her nose still stuck in the book.  She went up the escalator, walked along the corridor – all without ever looking up.  She was in another world (while thankfully still managing to negotiate the real one quite successfully). 🙂

A girl after my own heart!  Maybe it’s escapism but I love stories that capture me, that I get lost in.  Characters that I would want to have a chat with in real life.

One of the joys of “starting over” in a new place is that I have had the time to join 2 different book clubs.  What fun to read books that I might never have discovered otherwise!  Here are 2 recent favourites.

The Einstein girl, by Philip Sington

This was certainly a page turner that was fascinating on so many levels!  Set in Berlin in the 1930s, I was intrigued by the way Sington describes the atmosphere in the city.  It’s a place still shaped by the effects of WWI and of the Great Depression.  So often we look at that time with the benefit of hindsight.

It was also fun to discover that quite a few places haven’t really changed.  In many ways, Berlin is still Berlin.

As for the actual story, I won’t spoil it for you.  Just read the book yourself 🙂

The Great Divorce, by C.S. Lewis

Totally different but equally as fascinating and intriguing!  I was sorry to miss the book club meeting as there would have been so much to discuss!  Here is an excerpt from a review on Amazon: “The book’s primary message is presented with almost oblique tidiness–“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.'” However, the narrator’s descriptions of sin and temptation will hit quite close to home for many readers. Lewis has a genius for describing the intricacies of vanity and self-deception, and this book is tremendously persistent in forcing its reader to consider the ultimate consequences of everyday pettiness. –Michael Joseph Gross”

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Great Little Berlin Moment #3

Rule number 1: you don’t start conversations with random strangers on public transport in Berlin.

Rule number 2: you don’t let people know that you are reading their newspaper/magazine/book over their shoulder.

Well, both rules were broken this morning. I was on the S Bahn, reading an article by a friend of mine on honour and shame. Next to me were a mother and her young son, deeply engaged in a discussion about the Lego thing he wanted to buy with his birthday money.  Or so I thought anyway.  Suddenly mum says: “That’s a really interesting topic!”  It took me a moment to realise she was talking about one of the headings in my article, ” Choosing between honour and shame”. “The world would be a different place”, she went on, “if each morning we all decided which of those we wanted our day to be like, and let that guide our actions and even our thoughts!”  Not really what the article was about but an amazing statement nonetheless!

And then she says: “That explains so much about how the Japanese government is dealing with the whole Fukushima thing.”  More along the lines of the article.  We talked a bit about communication between cultures.  She was getting all enthusiastic:”It is so important that we learn to understand how other people think.  People should be taught about intercultural communication!  It doesn’t just happen automatically.  Even though there are kids from different cultures in my son’s class, they often don’t understand one another and the differences just lead to arguments and fighting.”  Then we arrived at my stop and I had to get off.

Maybe that’s why we don’t talk on public transport – you have to stop just when it gets interesting!