Monday, 2 August 2010

Woman thou art loosed...(from Lose Urself 4 Charity)

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it. 
Confucius

Body image is something that is constantly under scrutiny in the media. When we look at magazines, celebrity & advertisements, the men and women we see there give the appearance of effortless beauty of the flawless kind. It is unimaginable that these people could have a break-out with pimples, have bad hair days, cellulite or any of the features we dislike when we look at ourselves in the mirror. These images are mainly computer generated and take an army and a small fortune to achieve, it not real and its not like that for them everyday so it shouldn't be what we aim for when we dress, diet or even think about our own bodies. I was thinking about why it is that I have not really made a serious effort to lose weight before now and I had the revelation that I am comfortable in my own skin. I have always felt beautiful, strong and confident and I don't entertain thoughts to the contrary. I carry myself with confidence, as if I believe that I am beautiful and have worth, I dress myself well and pay attention to details and more importantly I fill my mind with with everything but negative thoughts about myself. I never stand in a crowd thinking 'oh gosh I'm over weight and everyone can see it', instead I mingle in crowds and quite often hijack the party with witty and intelligent conversation, a little dry humour and sarcasm and a barrel of laughs! I share this to prove a point, that when all is said and done, YOU ARE WHAT YOU THINK! So start thinking positively today and shake off that negative body image, get comfortable in your own skin and if there is something you don't like about your body, do something about it!
When you feel low, remember...
Beauty comes as much from the mind as from the eye. ~Grey Livingston
Beauty in things lies in the mind which contemplates them. ~David Hume
There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion. ~Francis Bacon
"As long as we look outside of Self - with a capital S - to find out who we are, to define ourselves and give us self-worth, we are setting ourselves up to be victims". Robert Burney
Self-worth comes from one thing - thinking you are worthy - Wayne Dyer
Is your self worth based on what you see in the mirror? If yes, you need to ask yourself whose eyes are you looking through? A media infested world will tell you that if Naomi Campbell, Selma Hayek, Megan Fox or Halley Berry are not staring back at you, then what you see is ugly...Don't believe that lie! Every woman has her own unique beauty and every woman has her flaws. Supermodel or Supernormal, know that your beauty and your strength don't lie in your clothes size, what you wear or what people think of you, it lies within you, in the place that refuses to be defined by subjective measure but by the truth of who you are...find that inner place here true value can be measured and whilst you're looking, know this, your value and self worth can never be measured in front of a mirror... 'you were fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God, that you are or can be the daughter of The King is you so choose...
Most of the images here are from the Now Foundation's Love Your Body Campaign and one courtesy of the Body Shop.

That which is striking and beautiful is not always good, 
but that which is good is always beautiful.
Ninon de L'Enclos

Music Makes Me...Feel...

Music is one of a very few things that I can get completely lost in without any concept of time or space or reality... I enjoy classical, blues, soul, 'old skool' r'n'b, a little soft rock, a dash of rap & country...but above all else, my heart is sold on jazz...bring out the sax, some drums and base and we are good to go in book! I must admit I am a big fan of Motown and the really way back then musicians like Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole and Etta James (and Dolly P & Kenny R) too! I love old songs generally, mainly because they had meaning and no sex, violence, negative speech, swearing or naked women in their music videos...something about a lack of those things is simply appealing to me...I must admit at this point that I am far from being an authority on music, I am simply an ignorant lover of it and at best an amateur singer (very amateur!!!). So this post seeks not to pour out great wisdom about music but to share a piece of my soul...

The following series of images are to give the feel of live music
 which is probably the very best way to hear music! Enjoy...

Every major event in my life has a song that defines the time, from a song called 'Sold Out for Jesus' that marked my initial salvation experience as a child, through Boys to men's 'End of the road' that marked my cross over from child to teenager in a big way...first crush..., Baby Face's 'Every time I close my eyes' - the song that defined my 'first love' relationship and that we picked to be 'our song' (smile...good times) and his song, 'nobody knows it but me, Brian McKnight's 'Anytime',Case's 'Missing you' have been my mourning over 'break up's  songs. Right the way through life's experiences to the point when I returned to God after a long detour through my own battles of identity and other conflicting emotions to 'Jesus lover of my soul', 'purify my heart' and 'draw me close' which speak of my love affair with my God and how much I need Him and am humbled that he would send His son to  die for me to absolve me of my own sin...Through various songs I have drawn closer to God and found comfort through the worst times of my life, (more so it has to be said than the dongs and artists I first mentioned...do yourself a favour and stay away from sad love songs when you break up with someone you love, these only seek to add salt to the wound no matter how long its been since they left...try a song that will bring you peace and healing instead, I recommend 'I surrender all' or 'Draw me close Jesus'...). 



The last year whilst I have been unwell and off work at home with the walls and all the odd things that happen during the day in the neighbourhood when you are at work... It has been hard to say the least, adjusting my life to work round a condition instead of forcing my body to play ball like I always used to...This level of rebellion by my members signified that some things were very horribly wrong and after about three months of fighting it and trying to force normality back into my life, I realised that I had to just let go and let my body heal... This I must admit was a depressing time in my life and on more than one occasion I all but cracked up under the pressure, my faith got super stretched and tested and my resolve was shaken...My body literally 'downed tools' like a disgruntled postal worker and went on strike! So in that time I had to learn to comfort myself in the Lord and hold fast to the promises of God and you guessed it! Music had a huge part to play in that process. When I couldn't pray I sang to God and when I couldn't lift my head let along read my bible, music soothed me and ministered to me through it. Favourites I can pick on in particular right now are, a song I was give by my friend Kane called, 'Healing', a song from church called 'Draw me close [Jesus]', some Sunday school songs (I teach Sunday School) 'Our God is a great big God' & 'God's not dead' (sung by children, these songs are therapy! Trust me!!). Some other songs that helped me not to run away from God include Casting Crowns's , 'Who Am I', Lisa McClendon across the board and various others depending on mood but all in all, music was there as a means of communication with God and people when words failed me and I didn't feel I could anymore and through the music I was able to touch heaven where my help came from...



A very special thanks to Nathaniel Cole (keyboard), Kane Dick (drums) and Joan Agwuna (mic) from the Potter's House Church, Reading for being kind enough to pose for this series of images.
Whilst I'm not particularly gifted in music (I don't play an instrument at all to save my life!!!) I can just about carry a tune in a bucket and therefore have been privileged to minister in song in churches during the course of my life thus far. I have also written a couple of songs, one of those things that are truly a gift and not naturally one of mine either so I had to work hard at it and do not do too badly...
Me singing @ church

I believe that music presented to God or about God or for God in relation to spreading the gospel is the most sacred and captivating of all music. I have never felt more alive or at peace than when I am singing a song from my heart to God's ear and feeling the Holy Spirit move in that exchange...Music has is and will always be a huge part of who I am and how I express and share my faith and this makes it all the more special to me...

The New Forest the way I saw it...

I had the pleasure of going to the New Forest recently with and it simply took my breath away...
Having lived in England for a while, I have driven through it before on only one other occasion and had said I wanted to return with my camera. A photography competition took me back there and I am sure glad I made the time to go! It is simply amazing, nature at its finest and us as people doing right by the earth's plants and animals (for a change) in a big way! Here are some of the 200 images I captured during that trip, enjoy!
When I went on the New Forest tour bus I captured all of these images whilst I was in motion and in the picture above the horses and myself were both in motion at the time of taking the image.
Contrary to what I thought prior to going there, the New Forest is not just trees! As beautiful and plentiful as scenes like that pictured above are, they are just part of what the New Forest has to offer with its many villages, bodies of water and animals...


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