This video is adapted from Johann Hari’s New York Times best-selling book ‘Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs.’
This video came up on my Facebook feed and I found it so very interesting. I wanted to share it on my blog, to see if others may find it just as thought provoking and helpful as I did.
My opinion after listening to the video…
Loneliness and disconnection is horrible, and can have a horrendous outcome on a persons life. We all need to feel we are loved, we belong, we are accepted and we have a sense of purpose. Withdrawing into isolation from others is a reaction, and the alternative is the need to be proactive in a positive way. To turn your life around can be very challenging for those who already feel inferior, unaccepted and worthless. Extremely challenging for those who have already opened the door to addiction as a way of escape to the daily pain that life brings them.
A desire to change takes commitment, lots of loving support, choosing to be vulnerable, and also huge bravery! You can’t do it alone! Building new relationships with the right people is a huge step forward. Good counselling, loving family and positive friendships! But the warning I give is that we should never allow others to give you your self esteem. If they can give it to you, they can also take it from you! We are all damaged people. Life can be amazingly wonderful, but it can also be cruel! What we put into a relationship comes not only from our choice to be the best to another and love them totally, but also from our life experiences, good and bad. And we make mistakes! We are human and that is one of the conditions of being human!
Praise God He loves us unconditionally, and as we are! He never gives up on us or leaves us. In Him we are loved, belong, are accepted and our life has purpose 🙂 To have a personal relationship with God is solid! It’s like having your house built on solid ground. When the storms of life come, you can rest assured that your faith in this loving God, will help you stand firm. ‘For God so loved the world (everyone… even you), that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (NKJV). We are all equal at the foot of the cross! Everyone! There is no bias!
I know there are lot of people that disagree with me about faith in God, but no-one can argue with the peace that I have from knowing who I am in Christ 🙂 I have no fear for the future as my life is in His hands 🙂 He is my hope for the future and my ever present help for today.
In August 2014, I left New Zealand for our second son’s wedding in Poland. If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know that after the wedding, we went on a Tour of the Balkans, all of which is written about on here with many photos of the wonderful sights and places visited. After the tour I flew to London to Nanny our youngest grandchild for three months, followed by a wonderful Christmas in Sydney. I finally arrived back in New Zealand mid January 2015.
Before I left New Zealand in the August I noticed that a small freckle on my right forearm seemed to be a little darker than it used to be. I wondered if I should be worried about it, but decided that it only looked like a freckle and should be okay. I told myself it was moles that you need to be worried about.
Because of the position of the spot, it caught my eye regularly, and I would touch it and pray that it was okay and nothing serious. But it definitely was getting darker and it seemed to have a little line running from it.
Our eldest daughter is a nurse and she remained in New Zealand while we had our overseas trip. We met up again four months later at our family Christmas in Sydney. As soon as Joanna saw my arm, she said that she didn’t like the look of the spot and that I needed to get it looked at by a Doctor as soon as possible. But I was in Sydney and still had two weeks holiday left!
By mid February I decided that I really should get it looked at and went to my GP. He wasn’t too sure about it but had another Doctor run a clinic monthly who did surgeries for unusual spots or moles. And I was booked in to see him!
On the 2nd of April I arrived for my appointment and as soon as I walked in the door, immediately the Doctor said he could see why I had come, he grabbed my arm, and said that it is a Melanoma! He was almost certain, and so was his wife, his nurse! Oh my goodness, why had I left it so long to get it checked out? Please get your spots and moles checked people!
It was cut out straight away and sent for testing.
Because I am on blood pressure tablets it bled fairly badly and needed internal dissolving stitches to help stop the bleeding. A clean dressing was put on a week later, and the stitches were removed a week after that.
So from one little mole to an inch long scar. But a scar I can cope with. What I was concerned about was that the Doctor said that if it did test out to be Melanoma, the most serious form of cancer, I could be dead within eight months! Oh, he also said that even if I had come along any earlier, and it was Melanoma, the prognosis maybe wouldn’t be any different. I had two long weeks to wait for the results!
Now for the emotions to set in! As a Christian, I knew and believed that God could heal! That Jesus took all our sickness on Himself when he died on the cross for us. I also knew that sometimes He doesn’t heal, that it isn’t always in His plan. So I was faced with the possibility that I may die a whole lot earlier than I wanted to! Yet I had prayed over that spot many times over the last eight months and I believe God hears our prayer. I also know of a couple of amazing Christians who died of cancer, even thought many people were praying for them. And I know people suffering the effects of cancer now!
I really was in Gods hands and had to trust Him completely for whatever the outcome. I actually wasn’t upset at the fact that I could die, we all are going to die eventually, but I was worried about the process of death (yet, still hoping that everything was going to be okay). I know that I have salvation, that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Saviour. I also know that I have His Holy Spirit within, as a seal, a promise that I am a child of God. So I know that I am going to Heaven when I die. Yes, I believe in Heaven! But I also became more aware of the many people who have no faith in God, and no hope for the future, and are going through the same wait as I was. Is it cancer or isn’t it? Am I going to die? What are their thoughts about death, and heaven and hell? Do they think that when they die, that is it?
The big questions of life huh! I believe us humans are made of body, soul and spirit. The body is the flesh and bones. The soul is the mind, will and emotions. But the spirit of man is what relates to God! The Spirit in us is the hope of glory!
As we just had a long weekend, Anzac weekend, on the Friday I drove a three hour trip to Palmerston North to pick up my grandchildren and then the three hour trip back home to New Plymouth. This to be repeated again on Monday to take them back home. While I drive along, I choose to listen to podcasts. This time I listened to three different ones on the way to Palmerston North. I was so excited in my spirit when I listened to them because the explanation of Death, Heaven and Hell was just great and an applicable topic for me! I would love it if you my reader would have a listen and then leave your comments/opinions later on. I guess the sermons are for Christians, but I am sure an unbeliever would also find them great to listen to, ponder about, and maybe be challenged about, especially if you are facing a life threatening illness! And I don’t want any of my loved ones to miss out on this free gift of salvation. Your eternity depends upon it! Please listen with an open mind 🙂
After a L O N G two weeks, I phoned my Doctors to get the results of the mole and flesh that was removed. It was a Melanoma but in Situ! Which means that the cancer was contained to the mole region only. There was 4mm of clear cancer free flesh under the mole. I am now booked in to go and get a further piece of flesh removed as the preferred clearance is 5mm! Really that is minor compared to what it could have been.
From this experience I recognise the fact that none of us know what we could face in the near future. Our days are numbered, and we don’t know when our time is up. What we can be sure of though is where we will end up. The choice is ours to make! But it has to be made while we are still alive and living on this earth. Accept Jesus and His gift of salvation, or reject Him?
If you want to accept and believe I have a short prayer for you to pray…
Dear God in heaven,
I come to you in the name of Jesus. I acknowledge to You that I am a sinner, and I am sorry for my sins and the life that I have lived; I need your forgiveness. I believe that your only begotten Son Jesus Christ shed His precious blood on the cross at Calvary and died for my sins, and I am now willing to turn from my sin. You said in Your Holy Word, Romans 10:9 that if we confess the Lord our God and believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, we shall be saved. Right now I confess Jesus as the Lord of my soul. With my heart, I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. This very moment I accept Jesus Christ as my own personal Saviour and according to His Word, right now I am saved. Thank you Jesus for your unlimited grace which has saved me from my sins. I thank you Jesus that your grace never leads to license, but rather it always leads to repentance. Therefore Lord Jesus transform my life so that I may bring glory and honour to you alone and not to myself. Thank you Jesus for dying for me and giving me eternal life.
If you just cannot pray this prayer of salvation, as you aren’t quite sure about it all, just ask God to reveal Himself to you and I am sure He will. He loves you 🙂
I am amazed at just how much effort is put into making the Christmas season so very special here in London. I guess we are no different in New Zealand but the largeness of this place just seems to make it all the more extravagant!
Firstly there is the ‘Winter Wonderland Show’ at Hyde park. Judy and I walked through on a Monday night after it opened over the previous weekend. Fortunately Monday night wasn’t too popular, and it was an easy walk through and very enjoyable. By the next weekend when I went again, it was crowded. You could hardly move with all the people, but there was a great atmosphere. People were happy and having so much fun. I took heaps of photos but think this you tube clip will help show just how BIG the place is!
The streets are all lit up with amazing Christmas lights but the shop windows have become like a super competition to see who produces the most WOW factor. Let them fight it out I say while I wander through the crowded streets and admire their efforts!
There are plenty of you tube movies about each store as well, especially as they finally unveil their window displays to the public. Here is a Harrods video…
And another store that is very well known. It was voted the best department store in the world!
Here is a sample of their in store decorations! They really are amazing!
Another store with the big reveal is Fenwicks. This Fenwicks is in Newcastle but there is a huge store in Bond Street, London.
Walking home one night Daniel and Marysia took us into the store Fortnum and Mason. I’d never heard of the store before but I was certainly in for a treat. This store is for the RICH! I’ve attached a you tube clip of this store. Its by a chap who seems to make a living making You Tube videos about London.
John Lewis is another big department store and it’s Christmas lights are turned on with the Oxford Street light up, but they have an advert which is televised during the Christmas season. The little penguin named Monty has become very popular. Everyone wants a Monty Penguin and his little girlfriend Maude.
I frequently buy online from Debenhams Store for presents for London friends. Here is their Christmas advert and you can see some of their instore decorations as well.
Here is a link I found with a write up about each shop and their window display.
And here is what Covent Garden got up to getting their 2014 Christmas decorations up! And believe me it all looks amazing!
We were lucky enough to wander through Covent Garden and see these wonderful decorations in person.
Another big thing is when the Christmas lights get officially turned on. The public come out in force to celebrate the event. It’s like a huge concert and goes on for hours. Here is Regent Street lights switch on 2014
I could only find a longer video for Oxford Street but what a celebration it was!
This short video is a general shop window one…
Libertys of London had a real celebration for the window display reveal. Once again it’s quite a long video but shows the excitement involved in this Christmas season at Liberty. It’s a wonderful store but once again quite expensive!
And if you walk along Southbank, the River Thames walkway you will also see the Christmas Markets. Actually this guy has done heaps of video clips on You Tube about Christmas in London.
I have noticed that there is a huge lack of Nativity scenes in London’s Christmas Celebrations. How sad is that! We are definitely seeing Christ taken out of Christmas, and with the stores each competing for sales, I guess ‘Jesus is the reason for the season’ doesn’t help provide them with store purchases. The meaning of Christmas has become buy buy buy! Gift giving even when you can’t afford it. Well gift buying anyway!
The best gift of all and it doesn’t cost a cent is the gift that God gave 2014 years ago. It was in the form of a little baby, God’s son Jesus Christ. He died 33 years later as a sacrifice for our sins, and so that we could have eternal life. This gift of salvation is free, you only have to accept it! John 3;16. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, so that he who believe in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
Having attended Hillsong London a few times while in London, I have been amazed at their influence in this city. The church is huge and is growing daily! Now they are having a Christmas celebration and it does include Jesus! It does has Father Christmas but would certainly share the true reason that Christmas is part of our lives today. Here is a video of last years production. It is 29 minutes long but a great look! If that sounds too long for you though, there is another link on my page for this years service, go to that one 🙂
To find out more please open/download the link below and check out the provided information 🙂
So… it will be at Wembley Arena again and the cost is 5pound per person. The 7.30pm Carol service is full already but there is another service at 3pm. This will be a Christmas celebration that you won’t forget in a hurry. In fact it could be life changing for you 🙂
Have a look…
I’m actually really sad that I can’t go to this Christmas service. I leave London on the 19th of December, but for those of you who live in London, don’t miss out!
Ever had one of THOSE weeks? Well I have just had one and barely survived! Okay a slight exageration here, but it was a tough week!
Started off on Saturday night. I came home from a very busy afternoon shift at work and ended up having a stupid discussion/argument with a person who I love very much! Yes, my halo slipped badly! I don’t know why I bothered to get involved in the discussion as I already knew we were poles apart in our opinions on the matter. Normally I would try to keep peace knowing that our relationship was way more important than ‘who was right’ at the time, but fatigue took over and I didn’t back down. Consequently, I have made a call to say sorry, and to try to get our relationship back to good standing. But I guess it may still take time. This was definitely a time when I could have done with God putting a guard on my mouth. I guess my strong self will was much bigger at the time! Hmmm a lot of self examination went on for the next few days.
On the Tuesday I decided to take my Mum and sister to the ‘Tuesday Special’ movies. We went to the movie ‘The fault in our stars’
Have you seen it? Oh my goodness…. it is not a good movie to go to when you are already feeling emotional! I cried the whole way through. Actually the whole theatre cried! One lady was even sobbing! But really, it is a movie to see. Go have a look for your self, and remember to take your tissues please 🙂
Then I had a call to let me know that church friends of ours adult daughter had had an asthma attack. And she died! She died! I still can’t believe it. She was beautiful, active and a great personality. A mum to three young lads and a devoted wife. She was also sister to two other young ladies who we know really well. What a shock to the whole family. My heart breaks for them all! Gina was farewelled on Saturday morning to a crowd of approx 650 people. Sadly I had to work so I couldn’t attend, but my thoughts have been with them all constantly.
And throughout the whole week I have been sick. It started with a sore throat, and a whole week later I am still coughing…. all day long! I worked Saturday morning, Sunday afternoon and then Monday afternoon and had several coughing fits during the time. Talk about embarassing! Nose running, tears falling and a tickly itchy throat that demanded several coughs to fix! Thankfully other than the wasted feeling after a coughing fit, I actually don’t feel too bad.
And what did I learn from my week? Below is my reading from this Saturday. As I read the first portion of the scripture I felt like it was describing my week. A week of despondency!
Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.
Habakkuk 3:17-19 KJV
But the last part of the reading helped me to refocus! Yet I will rejoice in the Lord and joy in the God of my salvation, and He will be my strength! No matter what is happening around me! God knows it all anyway and I can trust Him with the details 🙂 Praise God!
Over the years of being a parent I have had so many happy loving moments that they are too numerous to mention, and each moment makes the role of being a parent worth the sacrifice and commitment of being a Mum. I have loved being a Mum (and still do) and I am now enjoying the role of being a grandparent. If you look at my last few posts you will see that we have been blessed with three more lovely grandchildren this year alone….making our grandchildren seven in number. Wow…God is good 🙂
There has also been those times when parenting brings a hurt that is almost unbearable. These are the times when you try to share a desire for the very best for your child, when you give the best wisdom you can from your own life experience, or wisdom that comes from God and His word to your child, but they just choose to walk a path that is completely opposite. As a parent you wonder why? What did I do wrong? What could I have done better? And yes… I know what you the reader would be saying. ‘You can’t live your child’s life for them’, ‘They have to grow up and make choices and live by the results of those choices..and grow through them’… But there is nothing wrong with wanting the very best for your child!
Seeing your child with wounds of the heart because of their wrong choices is one of the most painful things in life. You see…you love them so much, you don’t want them to be hurt that way. Falling over and skinnng a knee can heal really quickly, painful at the time, but actually has no life long effect. Being rejected, cheated on, disrespected, used and lied to is much more damaging. These hurts can take a lifetime to be healed from, and sadly, unless attended to, they can also affect future relationships. These wounds of the heart are that severe! Believe me I know. Those of you who know my history will know that I am talking from experience. And…because of my life, I have never wanted my children to suffer those very deep and painful wounds for themselves.
True healing can come from a relationship with God, but it can take years. It is a process. How much better it would be to never have made those wrong choices? I hope you, the reader has faith. God loves you, and His plan is perfect!
While travelling home from Sydney today I watched a movie called ‘Grace Unplugged’ It’s a great movie about a father trying to lead his child by example (hopefully we all do that), and to help her make decisions that he felt were the best for her to make (yes I could see where he was coming from), but instead the child, Grace, gathered resentment towards her father and his faith, and walked completely in the opposite direction. And sadly, both ended up with huge regrets…. the ending you can probably guess, but the movie is well worth watching to see the end for yourself. Anyway…. I could see some similarity in my life!
Once home and reading through my many emails I came across a link to a ‘You Tube’ clip from a church that I regularly watch messages from. This video/teaching is great! Well I think so anyway 🙂 And, I wonder just how many parents of young adults that are getting into boyfriend/girlfriend relationships, would like to have access to great teaching on this very subject. Below is the link. Have a listen…and maybe send the link to your young adult to have a listen to as well….then, like me…. pray pray and then do some more praying 🙂
Every morning I read ‘The Word For Toady’. It’s a devotional book that I receive every three months from Radio Rhema, New Zealand (RBG). For each day there is a scripture to read followed by a little message that explains the scripture a little further. The explanation is written by Bob and Debby Gass from UCB International.
Now I have been receiving these books for approximately 20 years! How do I remember to read it, you ask? Well, I have it sitting on a shelf in my toilet, and when I go to the toilet first thing in the morning, I read my ‘Word for today’. Too much information….you say… Well it works for me! Hehe 🙂
This morning is the 18th of April, and it is Good Friday here in New Zealand. The title for today’s reading is ‘You get another shot’, and the scripture for today is…
‘…”Lord, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom”…Jesus said… “Today you will be with Me in Paradise.”‘ Luke 23:42-43 NKJV
And the further reading today just touched my heart, and I want to share it with you.
Author Charles Swindoll writes: ‘If ever there was a deathbed conversion, that was it. The thief lived his entire life a sinner, a hoodlum…in no way did he prove himself worthy…so what had he done to receive eternal life? What did Jesus accept? Faith – simple, unadulterated, unproved faith in Christ. That’s all God requires and all we can offer. The snapshot of Jesus’ life the thief saw convinced him He was the Son of God.
Their dialogue teaches us three important truths: (1) No one is ever too far gone. Think of someone you’ve written off… ‘Oh, they’ll never come to know Christ. I’ve tried everything…he’s never going to respond’. When you’re tempted to think anyone is beyond the reach of grace, remember the criminal on the cross. (2) Your real message is your life. Socrates once called words ‘stupid things’. When your life draws the attention of lost people, you have sufficient proof to back up the words you use. When you let God do the work in their lives, and yours, you’ll be amazed how He brings the appropriate words. (3) All God requires and accepts is simple faith. If you’re working hard to earn your way into the Kingdom…you’re on the wrong path. Think about it – how many works will be enough? When salvation is by faith, all the work and all the glory are God’s.
Never doubt your acceptance into His family when you come His way. The thief didn’t doubt…He didn’t have to make any promises. He believed with all his heart, and was saved.’ You can be too!
You too can read the ‘Word for today’ everyday. I will put the link for todays message below and then you can read each days new message via the internet…..enjoy
Way back in April I posted about my job ending at the ANZ Bank and how upset I was about the way I was treated during the whole process. I must admit I hadn’t really enjoyed my job as much after the ANZ dropped the National Bank Brand, but I was good at my job, and I felt that their unwillingness to offer me another position was very sad. I also had the perfect working hours and couldn’t imagine finding another job with part time work available. Little did I know that God was in control, and He had a plan for me that He knew I would be really happy with. I believe that we can ‘cast our cares on God, because He cares for us’ but as I cast my work cares upon Him, praying for Him to work out the details, I didn’t really think he was answering when the ANZ job ended.
But on my post on the 22nd of May, I told you about my new job and how it was an amazing answer to prayer. I have now worked about 10 days and I love it! I am really happy! I am meeting lots of really interesting people. I am helping people that are sick and hurting. I am using a computer daily and doing all the reception duties mainly on my own…and it’s great!
So way back in April I couldn’t see the future and I was wondering what was going to happen. Now I can see that God had it all in hand. He helped me let go of my old job and He opened the door to my new job. He took away the sadness and frustration that I had at work and replaced them with contentment and satisfaction with a job I enjoy.
During the stage from unemployment to employment again, I have had 2 more trips to Sydney and have also planned a trip to Italy with my sister Judy and neice Teresa, for 2 weeks in August and following that 2 weeks travelling with Daniel and Marysia. I will leave NZ on the 1st of August and return to New Zealand on the 31st of August. I am so excited.
I have also been able to do some more house renovations. I have stripped wallpaper, prepared walls for painting and then painted three rooms! And they look great. Robin finished our bedroom walls for me while I was away in Sydney. I took some photos to show Matthew and Rebecca the changes. I love them…what do you think?
So…. as the previous post said.. I am now unemployed! That door closed but it opened up other opportunities! I can now come over to Sydney and look after/see/visit the family over in Sydney without all the drama of trying to get holiday days approved by work. There is always an upside to downers! God has everything in control!
I had arrived back to NZ on the 4th of April, after spending 10 days of Easter with the Sydney family, worked 2 days, that was the last 2 days of my work career with the ANZ, then on the 18th I flew back to Sydney. And this time I am here for 18 days….yes!!! Matthew and Rebecca are over in Singapore, Rebecca coming back on Monday the 29th of April and Matthew going on to Thailand. Then I am here with Rebecca and the girls until Monday the 6th of May.
It is the school holidays but Leeara has been at work nearly every day. I have been taking her to the Gordon Train station and picking her up from there after work. Casey usually goes to a holiday program but because I am here she has the luxury of being able to stay home and relax. She has been amazing. Every day she has been colouring in, playing with her dolls (monster high….I find yucky!) which she loves, and just hanging!!! She is still in her onesie and it is 2pm….as she was yesterday as well. She has made the most amazing little book filled with words and pictures of love for her Mummy (hope you don’t read this Rebecca or the secret will be out). We have done lots of baking together, taken Rosie (the dog for walks and visited friends. Last Sunday Ben came and picked us up and we both went in to Sydney city to go to Ben and Chloes church (Leeara was at work). They go to C3 City Campus….and I love it. I went with them when I was over at Easter as well. Their church had a conference this week. I was tempted to book Leeara, Casey and myself in to go to it, but then felt a little selfish, they probably didn’t care too much to go, it was me who wanted to go. A friend told me that the service was live streamed and you could watch it from home. So every night I got the pleasure of listening to the main speaker…as if I was there 🙂
Every night I have been scrapbooking once Casey is either in bed or ready for bed. I am so spoilt….and I know it! I have created 11 pages so far! I will attach photos to show you my creations. Think I may need another trip to the scrapbook shop in Hornsby for more supplies!
We have just arrived back home from Featherston, where we celebrated the wedding of Benjamin (my youngest son) and Chloe. What an amazing day we had. Everything was beautiful and went perfectly to plan. They are now enjoying their honeymoon and the beginning of life as a married couple. I pray they will be very happy together and will have the grace to love each other always, the committment to stand by each other through every season of their lives, and that they will experience God’s blessing in every way. I love you Ben and Chloe xx