Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Fly away with me...

One thing I would love to do is go up in a hot air balloon...so when I saw one flying over the city, I could not resist to capture it and dream that I was flying away with it! :-)





Saturday, 26 June 2010

The quest to find Low fat, Low carb & low sugar ice cream...

One thing that I personally associate summer with is the indulgence of ice cream! (occasionally on a snowy day too!!!). I am sure this is one of the reasons people are encouraged to diet FOR summer not IN summer. So the pressure is on and temptation is raging for one to indulge in summer's guilty pleasure! 
The more I think about it the more I have been asking myself, 'Why does ice cream have to be a guilty pleasure?' Surely with all the modern technologies and food science there must be a way to enjoy ice cream without piling on the pounds!?! So I went online and had a look to see if somebody, anybody could help me out here!!!! What I found was D'Lite. D'Lite's core product offering of 'D'Lites Emporium' is a low calorie, low carbohydrate, low fat, low sugar soft serve ice cream which contains no artificial sweeteners and no cholesterol. It is said to be a premium light ice cream that has been designed for a healthy lifestyle, though I am not sure how healthy ice cream can be... They say that the proprietary mix is made with skimmed milk, utilizing the natural sugar from the milk, to create a smooth and creamy product without sacrificing flavor or quality. Unfortunately this product is only available in parts of the US and so I am unable to test drive it and let you know if it does taste the same or if it is indeed as 'healthy' as they say.
          
Karen Collins in her article 'Light' foods may not be best choice for dieters'  says that newlow-carb products are drawing more dieters back into the dessert and beverage aisles of grocery stores, but can they actually help people lose weight? She went on to say that, 'since dropping pounds ultimately comes down to burning more calories than you consume, these products may not provide much benefit.' Karen certainly has a point in that consuming these products as part of your regular diet can be totally counter productive as the bottom line is that calories are calories, whether low fat or full fat, 'every little adds up'.
The reality is that ice cream labeled "for use with low carb diets" uses sugar substitutes for sweetness and gums and cellulose gel for thickness. The brand most widely available right now produces an ice cream containing 130 to 140 calories in a half-cup serving, which is the same as regular ice cream. The total and saturated fat content of the products is about equal, too. The best way to handle the ice cream urge is moderation, pure and simple! Eating ice cream occasionally when you really want to treat yourself and not as a dessert after every meal and hey, you don't even need to have the low everything alternative, you can have the good stuff! :-)

Monday, 21 June 2010

RADICAL DISCIPLE’S DECLARATION by Pastor Harold Warner


Pastor Harold Warner is one of the leaders of the fellowship of churches I am a member of. He is one of the most genuine and inspiring ministers I have ever heard preach and he doesn't just preach the gospel he lives the gospel! Shortly after he was married he became a pastor and just before he moved to his first post with his wife he had a car accident which left him paralyzed from the waist down and ended up in a wheel  chair. As soon as he got out of the hospital, he went to straight back to that place and took up his calling to be a pastor and has been all over the world in his wheel chair preaching the gospel and he still is today! 
Today I am stepping across the line 
I’m tired of waffling and I’ve finished with wavering 
I have made my choice, the verdict is in and my decision is irrevocable  
I’m going God’s way, there is no turning back!
I will live the rest of my life serving God’s purposes, with God’s people, on God’s planet for God’s glory 
I will use my life to celebrate His presence, cultivate His character, participate in His family, demonstrate His love and communicate His word. 

Since my past has been forgiven,  I have purpose for living and a home waiting in heaven. 
Therefore I refuse to waste anymore time or energy on shallow living, petty thinking, trivial talking, thoughtless doing, useless regretting, hurtful resenting or faithless worrying. 
Instead I will magnify God, grow to maturity, serve in ministry and fulfil my mission in the membership of His family. 
Because this life is preparation for the next, 
I will value worship over wealth, 
We over me, character over comfort, 
Service over status and; 
People over possessions, position and pleasure, 
I know what matters most and I will give it all I’ve got 
I will do the best I can, with what I have for Jesus Christ today.
I won’t be captivated by culture, manipulated by critics, motivated by praise, frustrated by problems, debilitated by temptations or intimidated by the devil, 
I’ll keep running my race with my eyes on the goal, not on the side-lines or on those running by me  
When times get tough and I get tired, I won’t back-up, back-off, back-down, back-out or back-slide. 
I’ll just keep moving forward by God’s grace.
I’m spirit led, purpose driven, mission focussed, so I can’t be brought, I will not be compromised and I shall not quit until I finish this race 
I’m a trophy of God’s amazing grace, so I will be gracious to everyone, grateful for everyday and generous with everything that God entrusts to me
I am radical in the original sense of the word, rooted in Christ, rooted in love and rooted in His word.  
I hereby declare my supreme allegiance to my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 
I say this however, whenever, wherever and whatever you ask me to do, my answer is yes 
I’m ready anytime; anyway, whatever it takes Lord, whatever it takes  
I want to be used by you in such a way, that on that final day I’ll hear you say well done good and faithful one come on in.

Amen.

Friday, 18 June 2010

A love affair with books...

I love books and I really love to read! One can get lost in a good book and find one’s self and the meaning of life, re-discover who they are and find the dreams they had forgotten. Books can give you knowledge and open you up to a whole different world...

 The greatest tragedy today is that the world is raising children without books! Too many children spend their childhood on computers, in front of TV’s, on electronic games but not enough time in books!  There are audio books and now electronic books available on the market which may go some way towards bringing books ‘back into fashion’. But there is no substitute for the smell of old books, the sound of  the leaves as the rustle and the ability to create dog ears and employ the use of a book-marker.
It is somewhat ironic that the girl who created this amazing book – dress was encouraged to take and literally destroy books in order to create  by her teacher at college.

Whether or not we agree with the principle of destroying books for any reason, this young lady has done an amazing job at creating this really good work of art.The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it.  ~James Bryce


A good book should leave you... slightly exhausted at the end.  You live several lives while reading it.  ~William Styron, interview, Writers at Work, 1958
Many people, other than the authors, contribute to the making of a book, from the first person who had the bright idea of alphabetic writing through the inventor of movable type to the lumberjacks who felled the trees that were pulped for its printing.  It is not customary to acknowledge the trees themselves, though their commitment is total.  ~Forsyth and Rada,Machine Learning
You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.  ~Paul Sweeney

Books can be dangerous.  The best ones should be labeled "This could change your life."  ~Helen Exley

A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face.  It is one of the few havens remaining where a man's mind can get both provocation and privacy.  ~Edward P. Morgan


There is a wonder in reading Braille that the sighted will never know:  to touch words and have them touch you back.  ~Jim Fiebig

Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.  ~Francis Bacon
The art of reading is in great part that of acquiring a better understanding of life from one's encounter with it in a book.  ~AndrĂ© Maurois

The best of a book is not the thought which it contains, but the thought which it suggests; just as the charm of music dwells not in the tones but in the echoes of our hearts.  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Budding Young Artist's Exhibition June 2010

A sincere artist is not one who makes a faithful attempt to put on to canvas what is in front of him, but one who tries to create something which is, in itself, a living thing.
::: William Dobell ::


Sk's art you will agree was really good (here is a reminder for those who missed it).

I have put together a selection of the other students work to show the variety of art showcased at the exhibition. Enjoy!
















SK Expressing herself !

There is nothing more pleasurable than seeing young people, with wide eyes and open hearts, dreaming big, expressing them selves resonantly  and making no apology for their free-thinking expressive and creative mindsets and attitudes to life! It was therefore with great pleasure that I attended the Thames Valley Collage end of year Art Exhibition. I was invited by one such young person, a truly inspirational 'up and coming' artist in her own right and a dear friend. She exhibited a full spread of artistic delights which I captured and now share with you here, enjoy!


A woman by SK

An art/craft/poetry/prose project inspired by The Diary of Ann Frank by SK

An interesting artistic presentation contrasting the hardness of Shylock, (a character from Shakespeare's 'Merchant of Venice'  with his softer side represented by the flowers. By SK

A really imaginative and interesting piece with a backdrop of words from Shylock's speech in a scene from the play where he shows his softer side.

This piece is a combination of dance moves from a routine SK taught a group of children at the 
Reading Youth Theatre which was incorporated into a  play this week. The theme is;
  'Life, Death, Heaven & Hell' by SK
She did not specify which image represented each one, it was for the individual to interpret it in their own way after reading the words written on each body. The words talk of how one can not make it to heaven without Christ, a powerful evangelism and artistic piece. 

SK is really coming into her own, finding her voice and it shows! She is a fairly new Christian who got saved through and evangelistic event that my Church carried out last September at her collage and she has held strong and faithful to God ever since. Her salvation in Christ has really had a complete impact on her life and strongly influences her art which gives a refreshing way to view the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Her work poses questions and is thought provoking without forcing a answer on the viewer which is nice as it therefore allows one a lot of artistic room to see for oneself rather than being told what to think which I like. She thinks out of the box simply because she has never been in proverbial 'box' which shows in her work and the subjects she chooses. Her Ann Frank's diary inspired project was done to contrast the Forest of Dean with Ann Frank's life, not an easy assignment which was self chosen. She contrasted the two well which you can see as you look through the book she made out of her old Dutch passport, a nationality she shares with Ann Frank and bringing a personal touch to her work. 

Overall I think that she has amazing talent and a really great outlook on life and art. She is bold and wears her heart in her art for all to see; with each piece you almost feel like you get a peek through the window to her soul. She does somehow seem to be holding herself back a little, this may be due more to her not quite deciding what form of art she wants to pursue specifically or maybe a little lacking in confidence? At the tender age of 17 she has achieved much already and as far as I can see has a bright future ahead of her! 

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Environmental terrorism


                                                             Image courtesy of the BP website 
My Dear Fellow, 

It was with great joy that I received your letter on the fifteenth day of June in the year of our Lord two thousand and ten.
As one of my earliest tutors in the University of Life, I eagerly look for and willingly accept all opportunities to receive your auspices and glean from your wisdom on all matters. I was therefore pleased to see that my public spouts on issues pertaining to quasi political and environmental issues occurring on the world stage have caught your attention.
In reading your remarks I could not help but notice that there was some err in the delivery of what prima facie appeared to be a sound argument. Peradventure this correspondence may enlighten you and perhaps today (on this occasion) the student becomes the teacher.
I quote the statement that has aroused such interest and caused you to seek to instruct me in this matter as follows;
“Can one really compare the BP oil spill to the September 11th TERRORIST attack?????? Well Obama did!!!!!! Come on!!!!!! Talk about deflecting your failures to bring the "Change" you promised in your election campaign by saying that "British Petroleum" have caused what can be compared to a full on terrorist attack!!!! Someone sack him!!!!!!!!!!!!”
 The above statement was inspired by the new reporting of the day that quotes President Obama as saying that, “BP oil spill impact 'echoes' 9/11” in relation to its impact on the people of America.
There are three points that I would like to bring to your attention as I address your remarks as follows;

1.   What is a terrorist?
Terrorism is the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion;
Terror can be defined as; A state of intense fear; One that inspires fear; A frightening aspect;
Terrorism can therefore be defined as ‘violent or destructive acts (such as bombing) committed by groups in order to intimidate a population or government into granting their demands’.
         
As it is clear from the definitions above, terrorism is a deliberate act, with a specific purpose to cause / inspire fear and terror in the hearts of its victims. I believe it is fair to say that an Environmental disaster (an accident no less) albeit, from carelessness of failings on any one party, cannot be compared, discussed or even contemplated in the same arena as an act of terrorism.

2.   What was the impact did 9 11 actually have on the people of America?
On September 11th 2001, a terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre left the following ‘IMPACT’ on the minds and in the hearts of the people of America;

·        2,819 people were murdered by those terrorists. Of  these;
o   23 were New York police department officers attending the scene
o   343 firefighters trying to put the fires that ensued out and the fires burned for 99 days after the attack before they were successfully put out
o   115 countries lost their national in this disaster and;
o   22 US soldiers died in Operation Enduring Freedom
·        36 000 Units of blood were donated to the New York Blood Centre
·        1 609 people lost a spouse in the attack, most of them the bread winners of the family
·        20% of Americans knew someone personally who was in one way or another directly or indirectly were affected, hurt or killed in these attacks.
·        422 000 New Yorkers suffered from post traumatic stress and;
·         1.4 million Americans changed their air tickets to train tickets in the period that followed.

America was on its knees with a wide spread of panic and fear gripped the nation, gun sales and racist attacks on Muslims grew daily and there was a sense that no one was safe from there on in. The impact of that day still resonates on many Americans today. Not one citizen of the country was left unscathed but this outrageously audacious act of terrorism.

3.   The financial element

I appreciate that your remarks were focused on and addressed a financial comparison to the disaster so I will address that now. Yes as you quite rightly state, BP did announce pure profits of $25 billion dollars in 2008 and yes they announced $14 billion dollars in 2009 and therefore I appreciate that one would hope they would invest some of this in their health and safety strategies. Being a Health and Safety Law professional I am acutely aware of their track record and failures when it comes to Safety and the Environment and this letter in no way excuses BP’s actions and inactions in this matter.
It is fair to say that BP has made a fortune from oil due to the world’s addiction and constant increasing demands for this fuel. BP can be rightly accused of being a big capitalist corporation that is in the business of making profit and will turn a blind eye to safety breaches to achieve its ultimate goal. Is this wrong? Of course it is wrong but that is not the question. The real question is; were BP’s activities such that, its failing would give rise to the feeling of fear devoid of safety and complete panic that a terrorist attack would give rise to in the America population?

 Consider the financial comparison between the two events as a final indicator of how they and their effects are polar opposites and not, as President Obama would like us to believe them to be on par. 



The Financial Implications of the 9 11 terrorist attack In 2001 post the bombing of the World Trade Centre cost New York business and International companies based there the following;

·        146 100 jobs were lost post 9 11
·        An economic loss of $105 billion dollars occurred in October 2001 alone as a direct result of this event
·        Clean up costs were set to be in the region of $600 million
·        $ 970 million was spent by the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)
·        $40.2 billion dollars of insurance pay outs resulted

The current estimates for the cleanup and loss as a result of the Gulf of Mexico Oil spill is as follows;
         
·        Estimated total costs of containment and clean-up to be approximately $3-6 billion of which BP has already parted with $ 1.43 billion so far and they have assumed responsibility as one would expect.
·         BP has also committed to paying damages to those affected by the spill, which is currently estimated, will amount to an additional $14 billion ( The financial loss, according to the interviews aired on all news channels so far is the main concern for local businesses.)

In summation;  this letter, does not seek to address BP’s guilt or in any way absolve it from said guilt;  but to show how President Obama’s statement of comparison of BP’s actions to that of the aftermath of one of the world’s worst and certainly America’s worst terrorist attack  was fallacious at best. It is no more permissible to compare BP’s failures to the 9 11 attack as it would be for one to compare the actions of bankers that lead to the World Economic Crisis followed by recessions across the globe as outright acts of terrorism, though the latter has caused more loss financially, emotionally and indeed in terms of loss of life globally, than BP could ever aspire to in any magnitude from an oil spill.

 Erroneous proclamations of this nature are dangerous and indeed inflammatory and defaming in the worst possible way. Far worse than that; they are careless and completely disregarding of the countless American and other lives lost, effected and affected by the country’s worst terrorist attack in history. An attack which is far from laid to rest in the past but is still very much relevant in the American psyche today.

 Your learned friend,

Rudo Nyangulu LLB (Hons), NEBOSH Grd, IOSH Mb

Friday, 11 June 2010

29 and counting...



This is the record of my 29th Birthday.

It has been an interesting journey thus far, full of many cliff hangers and detours, disappointments and delights and the new discoveries... that change brings. 
In corresponding with one of my oldest and dearest friend's this week, I realised that though in many respects I have hardly altered with time, the road I have traveled has brought me to this very place today. A place where I stand a better woman, a better friend, a better daughter, not of my own accord but by the workings and fashioning of the Lord in me. 
Though the waters of life have been strong and often choppy, there forever comes a peace in knowing my Redeemer lives! Fear is no longer my bedfellow as I arise a fearless daughter of The King with a blessed hope that carries me through all things.
Don't get me wrong I am far from perfect, my journey has not been without failure on my part. Oh yes i have stumbled and fallen many a time in the 28 years now gone by its true;
But no matter how far I fell, how lost I got, how hopeless it all seemed; He kept me... He has kept me...
I look back with understanding, 
look to the present with anticipation and 
look to the future with great hope
For His word and promises are 'yes and amen'
I know I will never be left or forsaken... 
When times are hard and struggle is upon me,
 I will not fear for He goes before me, be surrounds and comfort's me,
And brings a love, everlasting no one can measure... 
Thank you Jesus, for the 28 years behind me and,
 all you have in store for me in the years ahead...

So as I embark on my 30th year of life, what lessons do I carry forward?
1. Live passionately - It is the only way you know you are truly alive
2.Love unconditionally - Anything else isn't love at all!
3. Don't take yourself too seriously, laugh at yourself! - Its the best way to stay humble and keep relationships
4. Constantly re-evaluate yourself - You don't know who you really are until you look deep into a mirror and see whats staring back at you!
5. If you hit a brick wall in life, re-invent yourself! - There are no prizes for those who suffer through life because of fear! 
6. Procrastination is the thief of time; its architect is fear - You only get one shot at this life, don't be crippled by fear of change / new things, you're wasting time!
7. To thine own self be true - Living a lie is for losers and there are no trophies for needless sacrifice!
8. An apple a day DOES NOT keep the dentist away (or whatever the saying is), FLOSS! - Then when you're old you won't have so many fillings!!!! or worse dentures! Lol!
9. Be creative - Life would be boring otherwise! 
10. Above all else remember; JESUS is your best friend, keep Him closer than everyone else and your life will be a blast that you will enjoy and remember! :-)

Finally - When all is said and done and we pass from this life, all that will be left is the moments that become memories we created in the lives of others...If we spend our lives making those moments, passionate, honest & true...in death there is no regret on our part and though we will be gone; we will never be forgotten...in the memory of those we leave behind.
 
Hey! 
Its my birthday!!!!! Lol!
 [clearly I have way too much time on my hands!]

Thank you all for the well wishes and presents! :-)
rue x

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