Monday, April 30, 2007

Just As Well I Don’t Live In a Glass House.

There is an old saying that he who lives in a Glasshouse shouldn’t throw stones. I f I didn’t know why before, I do now.

Recently I wrote about the importance of properly using a person’s name. Well I recently wrote to a friend of some little time and used the abbreviated form of her name, which would not have been a problem in the slightest, but it was when I spelled it incorrectly and when used in reference to her response to the above mentioned article.

Now I suspect that normally she would not have responded but as I had written about it previously she felt the need to correct me and to keep me to practicing what I preach.

So what warnings can we all learn from this? Well the most obvious one is to practice what we preach, even to the point of learning which of the half dozen or so spelling variants their name may have. (In my case I have no real excuse as despite the many variants there are, I had her own preferred version written before me on her e-mail.)

The next is simply a version of the old axiom, “To stop and smell the roses.’ It is a simple fact but sometimes we just try to do too much at the one time which means we tend to rush things or simple glance at things and think we have understood all that was there when in my case I obviously hadn’t.

The final point that I wish to emphasizes is that even if we do get it wrong occasionally, there is no need to give up just because we make the odd mistake or two.

So if like me you don’t always, “Practice what you preach”, it doesn’t mean you have to give up “Preaching”. Just that you have to take a little more care and do it right to start with.

What say you? Walter.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

It’s the Law!

Our last-born was light-heartedly complaining about something that was causing her (& us) some slight inconvenience and responded by saying, “How inconsiderate of them!” Our first-born responded by saying, “It’s the Law!”

The reply didn’t really please her either, but she accepted that, because the law is there to protect and guide the majority, for the greater good of all. Unfortunately sometimes, to do that, it infringes upon the freedom and wants of a few.

What about you? How do you respond to these minor inconveniences to your desires and wants?

Do you just accept them, amidst minor grumbles like my last born? Or do you simply ignore the Law or even fight against the rights of the majority, just to protect your own rights or, to put it more crudely, to get your own way at any cost?

Sometimes we may grumble and complain, but if it is to the benefit of the majority, then we should generously, if not gratefully, give up our rights for the greater good, knowing that there will surely be many other situations where we are the beneficiaries of some other minorities rights being infringed for the greater good of all. What say you? Walter

Saturday, April 28, 2007

I Am Busy But I Can Squeeze You In.

Recently I was on my way home from having my first Physiotherapy session on my back and decided to call in on our Mechanic and finally get around to booking my car in for a Service and to get him to have a look at my noisy exhaust. (The car’s exhaust, not mine!)

While in the process of fixing a hanging mud flap on the front for me, he put my car on the Hoist to do so and to look at the exhaust. He decided that a piece of the pipe underneath near where it had cracked should be replaced for now and the rest would last for quite some time yet. During this time we had also been talking and he had mentioned that in 4 working days time he was heading for West Australia for 10 days for a wedding.

Anyhow after looking at the exhaust, he said, “Walter I am rather busy trying to get everything done before I go on holidays but if you like I can try and squeeze you in.”

Well I was stunned by his generous offer but as I had been in hurry up to this point I didn’t think another three or four weeks would kill me and whilst thanking him sincerely, opted to wait till he got back and could fit it in normally.

What about you? Would you put yourself out like my mechanic? Are you there just for what you can get out of it or are you there too to help, whilst making a living at the same time?

Or would you have accepted his generous but onerous to him, offer? If it had been more serious I certainly would have taken up his very kind offer, but choose to leave it to another time to take extra advantage of his generosity.

I decided to leave it to another time to call on him when I was in more desperate need, not knowing that that need would arise within the hour. On my way home from there, my daughter rang with major engine problems which meant that we had to take her car to him for major, not minor needs.

This left me feeling grateful that I had not used up all his generosity previously and I was now able to take advantage of it when it was most needed, even if for my daughter and not me.

What about you? Do you use other people’s generosity to both yours and theirs best advantage? Or are you one of those who abuse other people’s generosity in the good times and then wonder why they are often unwilling to help more in the bad times.

I have no solid rule here but I think that when other’s make what are obviously onerous to them offers, but overly generous to you, and you wonder whether you should accept, just imagine how you would feel if the situation was in reverse and accept or reject graciously accordingly. What think you? Walter

Friday, April 27, 2007

Bus Driver or Bus Driver’s Supervisor. Who cares?

Recently I ran out of Newspapers to sell at the Railway Kiosk, so I rang the News Agency to get some more. Instead of having to wait for someone else to clock on down there in 20 minutes time before they could be sent up, one of my irregular Chatterers offered to go down and get them for me, as it is only a couple of hundred metres away. As he offered, I accepted, as I knew he wasn’t catching a train anyway. So talking on the phone to the News Agency and describing the guy I was sending down to get the papers, I made the mistake of calling him a Bus Driver. To which, having overheard it, he indignantly but graciously, complained, “Bus Driver? I’m not a Bus Driver!”

I ignored him on the phone and having hung up sent the “non” bus driver down to pick up the papers.

When he returned, I told him that I was having enough trouble with the guy on the other end as it was and I didn’t think he would have got the subtlety between a bus Driver and a Supervisor of Bus Drivers and thus used the easiest option. Being a good bloke and a good friend, he quite happily accepted that, but again I was left pondering the importance of my/our use of words, both in regards to people’s desired reference, but even to their job title’s

To the guy at the News Agency it would have been confusing, to me it was irrelevant, but to him, it was very important. So to answer my question at the top; He cares, that’s who! As he cares, therefore so do I! Do you?

Yes! Do you care whether you offend others by getting their job Titles wrong? Or worse, do you get offended when others get your job title mucked up? Is it really that important that they get your job description right? Or is better simply for you to do your job to the best of your ability irregardless of what others call you or think of your title? Over to you: Walter

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Fire or Water?

Recently I received a reply to one of my earlier Blogs on our Bush fires over December and January. It read in part: “As I was reading your posts on the fires I had a thought. You were saying how there was a lot of fuel for it, especially because of the drought and stuff, and I was struck with the thought that it happened then because we had enough water to battle it, had it come later we couldn't have fought it. So although it was bad, it could have been much worse had it been any later - it was sent to clean up all the fuel to safe guard it later.”

I do agree that the fire did come at the theoretical worst time of the year, and did burn for around 77 days, and it did indeed burn up a lot of excess forest fuel, whilst causing only a fraction of the expected damage, and therefore we can indeed be grateful that we had the resources to control the blaze then and there and was able to keep the damage down to a minimum.

However despite the fact that the drought has not yet broken and we are now on stricter Water restrictions, I can’t help but believe that if that fire came even now, that we would not find the water to fight it somehow, even to the last drop.

Sometimes we are often left to choose between the lesser of two evils and I think a bush fire, at least in the short term, in the middle of a severe summer drought is more dangerous that having no water and having to truck it in from elsewhere.

What say you? Do you sometimes find yourself in a position where you have to make a choice between two things that under normal considerations neither would make you top 1000 list of desirable things to choose?

When you do, do you try and make the third choice, which really is no choice of all and that is to try and sit on the fence? If you do, you may just find the fence gets burnt out under you and no one will throw their water on you, because you never quite made your mind up where you truly stood. Not nice, not pretty, not even fair, but that’s life and the usual end of fence sitters.

Now I am not saying that in those times one should jump to any decision without thinking. Thinking is good and necessary, but eventually the time for thinking ends and the time for action, as apposed to re-action arises, and sometimes even this time passes eventually and you are often left in a pile of ashes with nowhere to go. How say you? Walter

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Today is Anzac Day which is a Public Holiday; where the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) landing at Gallipoli in Turkey in 1915 during World War 1, is commemorated.

It is a day where the terrible losses at Gallipoli and other places since, are remembered and the sacrifices of these young men who laid down their lives for the rest of us to live free, is acknowledged. “Greater love has no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15: 13.) ”

Very much like how Christ laid down his life for us, so that we could not only live in freedom but have eternal life as well. “While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly … But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. (Romans 5: 6 & 8.) “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16.)”

Having just celebrated this Christ event in Our Easter devotions earlier this month, it seems to me that, for some Christians, more emphasis has been laid on the sacrificial and saving element of the soldiers on behalf of just one part of the world, than what most Christians paid to Christ for his saving work on behalf of the whole world, that we Christians commemorated just a few weeks ago.

Without down playing the loss and sacrifice of all our soldiers of the past and present, is this Christian behaviour right? Are we perhaps in danger of forgetting the price Christ paid for us on the cross? What about you?

How often do you remember the one who laid down His life that you may have eternal life? Once a year? Once a week? Or every moment? Only you and God know that answer.

I know mine, what’s yours? Or have you never really thought about it? If so, why not take the time right now to do so? Definitely, over to you: Walter

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Is being Busy Good?

Recently in reply to my “Motivation “article I received the following reply.

“Hi, Walter; This reminds me of the other day when I went to the doctor. I said to him, "I may be into too many things. I stay so busy." He said, "No, keep on about it. If you are busy now, you will continue to be busy. If you sit down and do nothing, you will continue to do nothing".

This is very good advice my Friend’s Doctor gave, but do we follow it? Do you? I must admit that I struggle with it. I don’t know about you, but when I have little to do and all day to do it in, I find that I struggle to even do the little I have to do because I tend to put it off to later. You know when it is a bit hotter (or cooler). Or, when it is a bit drier (or wetter). And so on, the excuses seem to be endless.

However when I have a lot to do, I tend to do things straight away and, surprise, surprise I find that although time is short I get a lot more done and feel the better for having done so.

What about you? Are you like my friend and busy now? Or are you simply like me on my off days and busy doing nothing?

So to answer my own question above about, “Is being Busy good?” The answer is yes, so get out there and get busy doing something useful. Find something that motivates you. Whether it helps you or simply someone in your community is immaterial, just get out and get busy and keep living healthier. Walter

Monday, April 23, 2007

Sometimes Just Being There Is Enough.

Last week I was on my way home from having a Physio session on my back when my phone rang. It was my last born saying that she was having Car troubles and would I come and help her.

Now My oldest Brother is an A Grade Mechanic by training and with many years of practice, and my other older brother is a pretty handy bush mechanic, but me? Let’s just say, when it comes to Mechanics, I make a pretty good gardener, and that’s all. So I was a little surprised that she was asking me for help in what sounded pretty serious. None the less I was quite chuffed that my daughter still had enough faith in me to ask for my help.

So on the phone, I asked her if she had rung the RACV. Which she hadn’t, so I told her to do that and I would come there after I dropped into home which by then I was only 200 metres from, although I had stopped to answer the phone.

When I finally found out where she was on my street directory I went to her aid. By that time she had rung the RACV and they had a guy on the way. Shortly after he arrived and his first words were less than cheering. “It has the smell of death on it. I could smell it as I backed up”.

With that he gave it a cursory look, asked a few questions and rang for a Tow Truck and left us, waiting for it saying, “It should be here with in the hour. That means it could be 10 minutes or 40.”

Well he was wrong, it was nearly the full hour and by that time it had gotten towards twilight. Not the sort of time one would want one’s daughter stranded on the edge of a busy highway by herself is it? Actually there was a time, while it was still light, where she borrowed my car and went and did a little errand nearby, leaving me by myself waiting for the tow truck. And I can tell you, I wasn’t all that happy standing there by myself either, and very relieved when she came back!

Isn’t company marvelous? In fact that is my point for today. Despite the fact that I had no expertise in her area of trouble and my only constructive advise was to calm her down and tell her to ring the RACV, which I ‘m sure she would have done eventually, just my being there was enough.

Sometimes there really is nothing we can do practically, sometimes there are even times when there is nothing we can say that will help, but just our being there is enough.

What about you? Are there times when you are called upon and think that it is pointless in you participating, as the problem area is well out of your expertise and experiences? Never fear, it may not be your expertise that is needed, just your presence.

Again you may not feel you have any value to contribute to society, but just your being there when needed is not only enough, but far too often, more than anyone else is doing.

So you see, even the least Mechanical in my family, was able to be of practical assistance in a mechanical emergency, just not the way one would normally expect. What has been your experience? Walter

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Dream Dog Or Queensland Holiday?

Recently one of my regulars came up to me at work and said she will see me in two weeks as she was going on holidays. I asked if she was going anywhere.

She went on to tell me that originally she and her fiancé were going on a holiday to Queensland to celebrate his thirtieth Birthday but he then decided to spend the money on his dream dog instead.

She was actually quite acceptive to this change of plans although she was lamenting on missing out on the holiday.

Now as one whose cousin, some 30 plus years later, still reminds me that I took my then Pup (Daisy) with me on my honeymoon, I am not going to argue with the guy’s thinking am I?

I might query the need to spend so much money on a dog, but choosing a dog over a holiday is really not all that silly.

I mean we had Daisy for some 14 years, where we got great value out of her companionship, her protection and her faithfulness. Assuming that this guy gets similar value from his dog, in the long term that will be far better value than a ten or twelve day holiday even if it is in Tropical Queensland, wouldn’t you agree?

So, how about you? Do you sometimes find yourself having to make choices that at first seem totally crazy? If so, carefully way them up, especially as to longtime benefits against short term advantages. You too might be like this young lady and accept that although it might not be her first choice, she can see the long term advantages over the short term loss. What say you? Walter

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Some Do. Some Don’t. So What Should We Do?

Although it is nearly a month since I shaved my beard off, there are still a few who haven’t seen me since then, and when they do they immediately comment on it.

At the same time there are still some who have seen me in that time but have not noticed any change. Or if they have, they have not commented on it.

The above responses mirror the normal attitude of the world in general. Some people will notice things and comment, others will notice and not comment, while yet others will never notice or comment unless something is specifically bought to their attention and they have no choice. So how then, should this affect our behaviour and how we live?

I don’t know about you and I really don’t know all the answers but here are a few of my thoughts on the matter.

1. We should never do anything just for attention. If we do do something, (or not do something) it should be because it is the right thing to do irregardless of whether anyone sees or comments.

2. Even if we think no one is watching, we should live and act as if the whole world is watching, because even if we never see or hear from them, there is very little we do that someone doesn’t notice.

3. Therefore everything we do should be done as if we have witnesses, and hostile ones at that.

4. If we are going to be watched, either for good or bad, but particularly for bad, then we should live in such a way that not only gives small offence but in a way that gives our enemies little ammunition to use against us.

I don’t often achieve that, but that is how I try to live my life in general. What about you? Walter

Friday, April 20, 2007

Squirrels or Possums, Both can be problems, but each has its own value.

One of my American friends recently asked if we had Squirrels over here. I explained no but we did have Possums. She then went on to describe the antics of the Squirrels in her yard, which I quote here:

We have just plain squirrel. I have probably 8-10 in my yard. I have a lot of trees and they play all day long. They build their nests in the trees real high up. They are eating all the time. They can become a nuisance, but are so cute. We keep holes filled that go to our attics because they are bad about chewing things. They jump from one tree to the other if they are close enough, and they can run like lightening. The latest thing bad I've heard about them is that they get into cars that sit out and chew on the wires. I keep mine in a garage. They eat acorns off my oak trees and bird seed. I have put out several bird feeders and they somehow figure out how to get into them for the food, or they get up there and shake it so they can have a feast on the ground. I paid a little extra to get a squirrel proof bird feeder. It was fixed so that when the squirrel stood on the rail, it swung around and threw the squirrel off. Well, not my squirrels. They figured out how to stand and eat anyway. They are very smart. They chase each other all over the yard. Well, so much for that.

I think yours (Sugar Gliders) look a lot like our bats. Our bats have webbed bodies. Our bats sleep all day and come out at dusk and eat our mosquitoes, but they never get them all.

PS: a lot of people eat our squirrels. I did as a kid.”

In reading the above I was struck by the similarity of behaviour between their squirrels and our possums, despite our Possums being Nocturnal animals.

It seems that no matter what part of the world that one lives in, one has problems with Animal life. In South Africa, we had problems with moles in the ground, here with Possums and In America, and I presume England, with Squirrels.

Another interesting thing is that all these animals have a purpose and beauty of their own but when they come into contact with humans can become a problem.

Also, although I’m not sure of Moles but I know both Squirrels and Possums, in days of old were used both for their pelts and their Meat in hard times, even though Possums are now a protected species here in Victoria. Because of this, a few people make a living out of catching and relocating troublesome Possums to another area.

All the above reminds me of life in general. Where ever you live and what ever you do, there will always be problems to either live with or overcome. They may not be exactly the same everywhere (Squirrels or Possums) but the end results are very similar, and can be destructive if not brought under control. (Destructive to property, even Human life and sometimes unhelpful competition to other animals or humans.)

Sometimes you have to bring in outside help to help you; sometimes you can do this yourself; at other times you can even turn your expertise in a certain trouble area into both a help to others and an occupation for yourself. (Possum Relocaters.)

So in bringing this to a conclusion, how do you see the Squirrels/possums in your Life? Something to be controlled yet enjoyed like with my American friend, whilst still enjoying her Birds?

Or something simply to be eradicated and removed permanently?

Or even worse, something that dominates and controls your life simply because you will do nothing to control it? Again over to You: Walter

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Overshadowed and under appreciated.

Once I had a dog. A very lovely, obedient, faithful and loving dog. A Kelpie Cross called Daisy. A great and wonderful dog she was, but one who got up to a little mischief when left alone. (Like pulling pot plants out of pots, ripping a leg off of my Pyjama pants hanging on the line and ripping up a brand new Yellow Pages (Thick Phone Book) delivered & dropped on the lawn that very day.) So to help prevent further mischief through boredom, the decision was made to get another, smaller dog to keep her company. (Unfortunately a couple of years later that one was run over while we were visiting relatives.) So a little while later we decided to try again with another dog.

Now, ever since I was a Lad and saw a Walter Brennan Film set in a Swamp, where his grandson found a strange dog that turned out to be Basenji, I had wanted one too. So later, much later, (when Daisy was about 4) when the opportunity occurred, my wife and I bought one which we called Suzie.

Now Suzie was everything that Daisy wasn’t. Almost the exact opposite it seemed. At first we thought that Basenji’s must be stupid but later I found out that Basenji’s are very intelligent, but they just prefer to do things their own way and in their own time. So, if she came when you called, it was because she wanted to and not that she was obedient at all.

So, stacked up against Daisy, Suzie was a bit of a disappointment. (To say the least!) However we had both dogs for about 14 years each, so she wasn’t that bad either. In fact as we bought her when Daisy was already four years old, we had Suzie for another four years after Daisy’s departure for the great Kennel in the sky.

And those four years were an eye opener to Suzie’s real qualities. Without Daisy to compare her to, we saw the true side of her nature and found she had many endearing and good qualities about her. Our dogs were old when our kids came along and so while our kids grew up with dogs always around them, they were not really Kids dogs. Yet Suzie in her old age spent some time at my mums (while we were at Bible Collage) and when my young nephew was up there as a wee baby he could do things to Suzie, that we couldn’t ever had done to Daisy and get away with it. But because of Daisy, we never saw this side of Suzie before.

What about you and your situation? Are there some Suzie’s around you? Some people who don’t stack up to what you see in others, but have other desirable and in many occasions, much valued qualities that they have not had the opportunities to display? Will you not give them a chance to shine without constant comparisons?

Maybe you even feel like you are a Suzie yourself sometimes and just can’t compete against someone else. I myself don’t know what advice to give you, but Suzie’s was obviously, don’t try and compete, just keep doing what you are good at and eventually you will get noticed and appreciated. What say you? Walter

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I Am Not The Only One, but what about you? 13/4/2007

Although it doesn’t happen very often, (that’s my story and I am sticking to it.) I occasionally run out of the most popular Daily Paper at my Kiosk. If it happens or looks like happening early enough, I can ring up and have more sent up. However if it happens towards the end of my stint, then it is not worth doing.

When that happens, people either have to go without or if they have time, go to a little Café nearby and buy one there. The Café is only about 60 metres away but as it is at the back of the shops on Main street and on the end of a small lane way that few know is there, a lot of the Railway travelers, although most pass it every day, are often not aware it is there and I have to direct them to it, which is funny, for if you stand outside my Kiosk, where they stand, and look in the right direction, one can see it clearly from there.

Anyway one day recently, I ran out of the main Paper and I was on the outside of my kiosk bringing in the “Headline display sign” when I saw an elderly gentleman using a stick come up the ramp to the Platform, asking for a paper as he neared me. I showed him where he could get one, but understandably he decided it really wasn’t worth his effort.

At that precise time a young man in his 20’s arrived also wanting a Paper, so I also told him where to go. (nicely though!) Commenting that he never knew it existed, he pronounced that he would indeed go and buy a paper there. To our surprise, he asked the older gentleman if he would like him to get him one too. Of course he agreed and gave him the money. As the young fellow went off, the older man said “What a nice young man”. To which I agreed. Then he went off. To buy a Ticket I think.

In due course the young man came back and went looking for the other chap, finding him around the corner.

Well was the old chap pleased? He spent close to five minutes thanking the young man for his outstanding kindness to him.

All of this overheard by me around the corner, which left me again wondering, is our society so uncaring in general, that something as simple and un-troubling to the doer, could bring such surprise and joy to the receiver?

It was also good to learn that I am not the only one in my suburb who still does normal every day unthinking acts of kindness.

I am not talking about big efforts here, but just simple ordinary, everyday actions. I mean the young fellow was going there anyway. It wasn’t as if he deliberately went out of his way at any cost, for this other chap.

Again I will ask in closing, what little thing or things, at no real cost or effort, can you do every day to help those around you, whether it is verbally appreciated or not? Walter

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Do Have A Go.

Recently I was asked by a Workmate to write a reference for him to be used as a character reference in regard to some legal problems he is having.

Although we don’t actually work in the same section, there is a certain amount of overlap in both duties and communication. And on more than one occasion I have had to directly call upon him for help and assistance. Sometimes outside of his required duties and obligations!

So although I don’t really know him that well, I felt I really could not refuse him, although I did try, by suggesting that he get his Supervisor to write it. He replied by saying he was getting him to write one too but wanted as many as he could get.

Later when I spoke to the Supervisor, he tried to get out of writing one by saying I could write one for the both of us. I told him that it would be better coming from his immediate supervisor, and especially as he knew him better than me.. He then replied that he had never done one before and wouldn’t know what to write. So I gave him some general pointers and encouraged him to have a go.

The character references were wanted for two days later and so on that day I was not surprised when the Supervisor showed me his Reference immediately upon my arrival. He wanted me to have a look before he passed it on to the one who required it.

I took a quick look at it and wondered whether I should tear it up. Either that or tear mine up! His was brilliant. It covered all that had to be covered and he did it well without gilding the Lilley at all.

For a so-called amateur, he made this so-called semi professional look like a real beginner on his first day at school.

All of this is not to disparage me but to encourage you to just have a go when you are asked to do something new. I am not talking about anything specific here, but if someone has enough faith in you to ask you to try something, then give it a go if it is at all possible for you. Now, you may not feel it is your gift or area of expertise, but if asked, at least give it a go.

It may be that your efforts will more often resemble mine than the Supervisors. But it is equally possibly that your efforts may be far, far better than you think, and rather than being an embarrassment to you, may very well be a very real help to the receiver. And often a help that they can’t get from others.

How about it? Will you give it a go? (Whatever “IT” is!) Please do. Walter

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Maintaining Your Strength.

Whenever we (The Girls or me) take their two dogs for a walk around our neighborhood, the two of them take off like Bulls at a gate and pull on their leads and take a bit of controlling. If it is a short walk it is not too bad, but on a long walk, although they start out pulling like crazy for most of the Journey, they then they suddenly run out of puff and want to lay down on the job, or in George’s case be carried. If you give them a little rest, they recuperate quickly and you are able to continue on and get home again. Often by this time they have regained enough of their former enthusiasm to be again pulling and straining at their leashes.

What about you? Does that sometimes sum up your enthusiasm and energy? You start out well but quickly became tired and want to rest, and then simply charge off again, resulting in a lot of stop, starting all the time with little consistency and constancy?

Do you need to pace yourself a little better or a little more? In my youth, I used to start of strong and continue to the finish, but these days, it is not so, and I am finding out the hard way that I have to pace myself better at the start, if I want to still be going at the finish.

I have learnt that I may not be able to do as much as I used to, be I can still do a lot and make a worthwhile contribution, as long as I remember to pace myself properly.

How about you? Is age and weakening strength catching up with you too? Well that is no reason to stop or even despair. You too can long continue to make worthwhile contributions to the world, if you are prepared to learn your new weaknesses and strengths and pace yourself accordingly. On this occasion it really is all up to you. Over and out: Walter

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Longer term Motivation.

In my item, “Motivation”, I mentioned how I had been re-motivated by something as simple as going for a walk with my daughters’ dogs.

I guess in many ways this is no real new revelation and is one long promoted by Doctors and others interested in physical health.

But my question is, “How do we motivate ourselves to take exercise regularly? “

I guess the only really successful way to do this, is like in so many other areas in our lives, in that we have to make ourselves accountable to others.

If we just say, I will get up every morning and go for a 15 minute walk, it won’t last long despite all our good intentions and efforts, but if we know that we are meeting two or three others to do the same thing, we will be better at keeping up our exercise regime.

Likewise if we pay big money to join a Gym, we will make every effort to get our money’s worth out of it.

During the 12 months after our time overseas finished, I was out of work and so joined my wife in doing a letter-box drop of Pamphlets twice a week to between 1 and 2,000 houses each time. The pay was lousy and as soon as I could, I found better work, but it did keep us fit and out walking, for 2 or 3 hours, twice a week, rain or shine, hot or cold, windy or calm. It was not a great job pay wise, but it was a way that we got plenty of exercise, whether we felt like it or not.

How about you? Do you really need to get out and exercise and know it? Yet can’t seem to motivate your self to do so? Then find a way. Make some Plans: Ask some friends to go with you; Join a Gym; ; join a local sporting club; find a job where you have to exercise in some form or another, even if like in letter- boxing, the pay is lousy. Don’t just suit there thinking about it! Do something, and do it soon.

If you really do need to get out and exercise regularly, find a plan that works for you, and go out and do it. Make a start now. It really is for your own good, so get out there. Walter

Friday, April 13, 2007


Recently I wasn’t feeling all that bright and wondered what I should do. Should I take some medication; or maybe some vitamins; or perhaps go back to bed; either that or watch TV all day; and a host of other similar unhelpful things to fill in the time, as well as being no-brainers to do. As well as all this I also had plenty to do in the garden but couldn’t find the motivation to start.

Not liking any of the available options, I decided to go for a walk instead and take our daughters dogs with me.

What a great idea! I came back fully revitalized, although somewhat tired having gone further than originally intended and from having to hold them back in their enthusiasm, most of the time.

What about you? Are you feeling a little down or depressed? Well take a tip from me, and find someone, dogs or people, or even just get out there by yourself if necessary, and just walk around your neighbourhood and enjoy the day and the scenery. Don’t turn to unnatural and unhelpful aides but get outside and enjoy the natural things of this life.

I am not saying to ignore medical help if it is properly recommended and required, but if you yourself feel that you need self medication, then find some motivation and get out their and enjoy the Fresh air and natural beauty that God has provided for all of us. Over to you: Walter

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Power Of Two… Small Dogs!

Recently, not feeling like doing anything else, I decided to go for a walk. Not wanting to do so alone, I took our daughters two dogs with me on their leashes. Well to say that they were keen to go is an understatement of the highest order. They where quite literally tugging at their leashes, literally pulling me along.

It is really quite amazing when you consider that they probably don’t weigh more than 20 Kgs between them, yet here they were, pulling my 80 plus kgs along with no trouble at all and in fact I had to really struggle to keep myself down to just a fast walk.

All this power from such a small and unexpected source lead me to thinking about how much un-harnessed power there is around us that we just lose because we don’t know how to harness it or don’t even think about using it.

Now I’m not talking about harnessing the dogs up to a sled or anything like that, but how about you? How much wasted energy and effort is there in what you usually do, that can be harnessed for good. Either for your own good, or the good of others?

Today I had no one else to ask, so I asked the dogs to walk with me. And they enjoyed it as much as I did and I probably walked further with the company than I would have done alone. Is there someone else you can “Walk” with, what ever activity you are doing and thus harnessing the energy and enthusiasm of others? Think on it and harness your own and others power for the good of all. Walter

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Dogs On The Loose.

Whenever we (The Girls or me) take our two dogs for a walk around our neighborhood here we always take them on their leads. However when we take them up to Mum’s place, and I take them for a walk around the paddocks, they are always off their leads.

Unlike on the streets around our house, the farm is relatively safe for them to run loose without and harm. (Although Mum’s cat Oscar doesn’t appreciate their presence; and quickly and usually quietly, disappears when we arrive.)

Anyway up at the farm with little mischief to get up to, they are let loose to enjoy themselves and have a little freedom. How about you? Are you getting sufficient freedom to recharge your batteries and empower you to face the restrictions of life, like the ‘Leashes” do to our dogs on their normal walks? Have you a place where you can be free? Even if only for a little while each week?

It is so very true that we do need restrictions and rules in our lives but we also need some free time too! Are you getting yours? Walter

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Dogs on a Leash.

Whenever we (The Girls or I) take our two dogs for a walk around our neighborhood, the two of them take off like Bulls at a gate and pull on their leads and take a bit of controlling. They also have a bit of a habit of wanting to chase cars too, especially the noisy ones. Now they are not too happy about the leads as they restrict their movements and desires. Hence not only do they continually pull on the leads but Charlie will often chew at George’s lead if he gets the chance.

Now, not only is it illegal to let them run without leads on the street, we also have to do it to control them and direct them, and also to prevent them from getting up to mischief, or even being hit by a car or truck. No matter how we have tried to teach them otherwise we have failed hence around here they have to remain on their leashes.

What about you? Are you finding your life and particularly your work situation too restrictive, with what you believe to be too many and too restrictive rules and regulations? Just remember those rules and regulations are there for your protection and sometimes you have to be forcibly reminded of them, like the sudden tug on the dog’s leash when they misbehave, not to harm or frustrate you as you might first think, but to protect you from harm.

Remember too, some of these restrictions are not only logical but also have legal repercussions for you and your employers if you ignore them. Again remember they are there for your protection and also because many, although simple and logical, have been simply ignored in the past to the detriment and cost of others. So although you may think them simple, obey them anyhow.

Although we all claim to be careful all the time, I also know that there are times when the excitement of the event tempts me too take short cuts or simply to ignore the rules, often to my, or even worse, someone else’s detriment.

So even though it frustrates you, remember those “Leashes” are there to protect and guide you, not to harm you. And even if you do know them off by heart, you, if you are anything like me, still need to be constantly reminded to use and obey them. For your own good, as well as for their good of others!

So will you allow the ”Leashes” to guide, direct and protect you? Or will you be like Charlie and chew at the leash, any leash, out of your frustration? What say you? The Leash is, metaphorically speaking in your hands. What are you going to do? Walter

Monday, April 9, 2007

He has risen. But, has he truly risen in you?

Greetings once again. May we again take this opportunity to wish

you a wonderful and Blessed Easter.

Did you know that many of the early Christians used to go around
 on Easter Sunday and greet all they met with, in Greek of course
 not English, “He has risen”, and the response to that, if you were a 
fellow Christian was, “He has Indeed!” (Again in Greek!)
 While at an Easter conference in the old Transkei  area of South 
Africa, (Nelson Mandela’s Homeland,) one year, I shared that item
 with the church people one Easter Sunday morning. That morning, 
and for many Easters after, I was greeted with a chorus of “Vukile”, 
which is the Xhosa way of saying, “He has risen”.
 Well today it is Easter Sunday 2007 and we are back in Australia 
again and you are where God has placed you too. The question is, 
can you from the bottom of your heart with genuine sincerity join us 
in saying Christ has risen in my heart and life too. Can you? 
 He has indeed risen here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 Walter & Martha

His destiny was the Cross

His purpose was Love

His reason was YOU


I don’t know if you know this but I started my blog writing by accident. Originally, these articles simply started out as short notes to my mother, of the weekly family events around us, and written down for her, as she is deaf and conversations outside of normal events are a little difficult.

Then one day I wrote a little story about the activities of one of our daughters’ dog. It was an interesting story but didn’t have a proper ending, so I applied a little moral to the story, and not only Mum, but many others liked the story, and so I started writing more and eventually started putting them onto a blog site for others to enjoy.

At first, I had plenty of inspiration and they flowed freely and I had to restrict myself to only publishing one a day. Recently however I have been struggling to supply one a day. I say was struggling, as until just last week, I only had 5 in hand: two for Christmas, one for Anzac day and two others. And it looked like I had run out of fresh ideas.

That particular day, when I sat down to write, there was nothing that inspired me enough to write about it, so I decided to go for a walk instead and took our daughters dogs with me. What a lovely idea!

Not only did they and I enjoy the walk, but I came back with the ideas for six new stories, (including this one.)

How about you? Where does your inspiration and motivation come from? Are you just getting tired and stale and need some new inspiration? Then get out and do something different for a little while, before returning to your original task.

As with my walk around the neighbourhood, it doesn’t have to be anything radical or dangerous. Just different from what you are currently doing.

I am not saying that you should completely or even temporary, cease what you are doing, just to allow yourself a little break, every now and then, to do something that will encourage, refresh and inspire you to continue on in your current calling. What say you? Walter

Saturday, April 7, 2007

How Dead Does It Have To Be?

Just before Christmas I glanced out my bedroom window at a lovely tree along our side fence and admired it’s lovely Russet tones. All of a sudden I realized that as lovely as they were these same russet tones were meant to be greyey-green and not russet at all.. Four years back I had in fact removed all the dead and dieing lower growth and left the higher living growth, but now it was all dead. I decided to say nothing and wait and see what response I got from the rest of our lot here. Well nearly 4 months on and not a response, but now, rather than looking lovely it is starting to look rather shabby and I will now have to act even if the rest have not noticed. Admittedly the rest are not really your gardening type like me, but it really has reach a stage where somebody should have noticed. Maybe they have but are waiting for someone else to comment first?

What about you? Do you really take notice of what is going on around you on a daily or regular basis? Or only in those things that concern or interest you?

And if you are aware of things? Or do you keep quiet until someone else brings it up and then say, ”Oh yeah! I knew about that weeks ago, but didn’t mention it?”

Sometimes, like in the case of my garden, this is no problem, but if it was to get so bad as to be in danger of falling and causing damage, it could even be deadly.

So while there are times when it doesn’t matter if we don’t speak up and even times when it is best not too, most times it is not only common courtesy but could even be life saving to do so.

So if you have to err, it best to err on the side of common sense and compassion.

What say you? Walter.

Friday, April 6, 2007

African sheep verses the Lamb of God.

During our first year in the then Transkei (now reincorporated back into South Africa,) we were invited to spend the weekend down on the coast with a Xhosa family, who as well as being members of our denomination, ran the local trading store there. As such they had a gas operated freezer for the store. Most places there have no electricity or gas power so they don’t have fridges or freezers, so when they kill animals for their meat it has to be all consumed there and then or else parceled out to family and friends (or sold) immediately before it can go off.

As such animals, usually sheep, are often only killed for weddings and funerals and such. For big events, (over 500 people) a cow or steer will also be consumed. But because of the cost of the animals and the inability to use all of it before it goes off, meat is rare in their regular diet. Thus when they kill an animal, they use as much of the animal as they can, including the internal organs. Some of these like the feet and liver will be fried over an open fire, others put into what they call a soup made up of the “Dirty meat” i.e. the otherwise indigestible organs.

When we visited this Xhosa family down at the coast that weekend, they had just killed a sheep, partially in our honour, partly for their own and shop use. I was asked by one of the nephews if in Australia we used the internal organs and such of animals and explained that apart from a few, we didn’t really use all the internal organs like they do there, I was stunned by his response and I quote, “Well! Meat must be cheap in Australia.”

There, because of its expense, thus scarcity, everything that can be eaten is. Some you wouldn’t eat if you knew before hand what you were eating. In one supermarket I saw a 2kg packet of chicken labeled “Walkie Talkies”. Upon closer inspection I saw it was a packet of just the feet and heads of chickens! Needless to say I quickly put it back.

This consuming of everything that they could, from an expensive item lead me to wonder if we as Christians treat the Lamb of God the same way.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son …”

As it is now the Easter event and Good Friday where we annually remember and celebrate Christ’s sacrifice, would you take the time to consider whether you truly treat this sacrifice as being very expensive and thus not to be wasted? Or do you pick and choose only the choice pieces and ignore the “dirty meats”?

Do you take full advantage of Christ’s sacrifice on your behalf or do you waste it by your ignorance and indifference?

That is the question each of us must ask, Do I? Do I? Walter

African sheep verses the Lamb of God.

During our first year in the then Transkei (now reincorporated back into South Africa,) we were invited to spend the weekend down on the coast with a Xhosa family, who as well as being members of our denomination, ran the local trading store there. As such they had a gas operated freezer for the store. Most places there have no electricity or gas power so they don’t have fridges or freezers, so when they kill animals for their meat it has to be all consumed there and then or else parceled out to family and friends (or sold) immediately before it can go off.

As such animals, usually sheep, are often only killed for weddings and funerals and such. For big events, (over 500 people) a cow or steer will also be consumed. But because of the cost of the animals and the inability to use all of it before it goes off, meat is rare in their regular diet. Thus when they kill an animal, they use as much of the animal as they can, including the internal organs. Some of these like the feet and liver will be fried over an open fire, others put into what they call a soup made up of the “Dirty meat” i.e. the otherwise indigestible organs.

When we visited this Xhosa family down at the coast that weekend, they had just killed a sheep, partially in our honour, partly for their own and shop use. I was asked by one of the nephews if in Australia we used the internal organs and such of animals and explained that apart from a few, we didn’t really use all the internal organs like they do there, I was stunned by his response and I quote, “Well! Meat must be cheap in Australia.”

There, because of its expense, thus scarcity, everything that can be eaten is. Some you wouldn’t eat if you knew before hand what you were eating. In one supermarket I saw a 2kg packet of chicken labeled “Walkie Talkies”. Upon closer inspection I saw it was a packet of just the feet and heads of chickens! Needless to say I quickly put it back.

This consuming of everything that they could, from an expensive item lead me to wonder if we as Christians treat the Lamb of God the same way.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son …”

As it is now the Easter event and Good Friday where we annually remember and celebrate Christ’s sacrifice, would you take the time to consider whether you truly treat this sacrifice as being very expensive and thus not to be wasted? Or do you pick and choose only the choice pieces and ignore the “dirty meats”?

Do you take full advantage of Christ’s sacrifice on your behalf or do you waste it by your ignorance and indifference?

That is the question each of us must ask, Do I? Do I? Walter

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Maundy Thursday.

As today is Maundy Thursday and as I know little about what Maundy Thursday actually means I thought I would look it up in my Dictionary. Having done so I now know more than when I started but still know little about Maundy Thursday as it is observed today.

1. Firstly, I learnt that Maundy comes via Latin from the French for Mandate or Commandment. i.e. John 13: 34. “A new Commandment I give unto You, That Ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” (KJV)

2. I also learned that in the UK it refers to the distribution of Maundy money on the Thursday before Easter.

3. I further learned that Maundy money was special minted silver coins distributed by the British Sovereign on Maundy Thursday.

4. Lastly I learnt that Maundy Thursday is the Thursday before Easter.

Not satisfied with that limited information and wanting more, I turned to the Net. The Net was only a little more illuminating.

Maundy Thursday.      n : the Thursday before Easter; commemorates the Last Supper
         [syn: Holy Thursday]

2. The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48

Maundy Thursday \Maun"dy Thurs"day\ [OE. maunde a command, OF.
   mand['e], L. mandatum, from mandare to command. So called from the ancient custom of washing the feet of the poor on this day, which was taken to be the fulfillment of the "new commandment," --John xiii. 5, 34.] (Eccl.)
   The Thursday in Passion week, or next before Good Friday. [1913 Webster]

1. WordNet® 2.0

     n : a public ceremony on Maundy Thursday when the monarch distributes Maundy money

2. The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48

Maundy \Maun"dy\, n. [See Maundy Thursday.]
   1. The sacrament of the Lord's Supper. [Obs.]
      [Webster 1913 Suppl.]
   2. The ceremony of washing the feet of the poor on Maundy
      [Webster 1913 Suppl.]
   3. The alms distributed in connection with this ceremony or
      on Maundy Thursday.
   Note: In England, the foot washing is obsolete, but the
         "royal maundy" is distributed annually on behalf of the
         sovereign. Since 1890 this distribution has been made
         from Westminster Abbey.
         [Webster 1913 Suppl.] Maundy coins

It is to be remembered that the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was inaugurated on the evening of the day before Christ’s Crucifixion, which would be Thursday as we observe the Easter event. That was when Christ took what was formerly the Jewish Passover and transformed it in to the Christian Communion or Lord’s Table.

So now you know as much as I do about what it originally meant but I still don’t know what it means today in Australia. How about you? What does Maundy Thursday mean to you? Is it a time to have a meal remembering Christ? Or just a time of Chocolate, hot Cross Buns and an extra long weekend? What say you: Walter

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Cane Toads & Sin.

Recently I received the following e-mail: “Hi Walter: Big news in the US is about the Australian Monster toad. How it was brought to Australia from South America in the 30s and how it was to kill your pest beetles, but now has become a pest themselves by killing the animals that are good.

According to the way you blog, I thought of how sin messes around with pests and it seems okay, then it gradually begins to contaminate the good.

Our information says the toad is 15 inches long and has killed millions of animals.

The "monster cane toad" is poisonous and SO IS SIN.”

As I read the above, I thought that it was a good analogy but one I hadn’t thought of, as Cane Toads are not a problem in Melbourne. We have been told that they will be, but as yet not so, and appear to be heading west across Australia where it is warmer, rather than coming down to the cold South.

So, although they are a problem to some they aren’t to us and thus someone else’s problem and not one for me to worry about.

A little while back in my Bible reading, I came across the story where God through his prophet, told King Hezekiah that all his riches and the Kingdom would be stripped from him and the people taken into captivity into Babylon, but that God would delay this punishment until after his death.

Hezekiah’s response was, “Is it not good, if peace and truth be in my days? (2 Kings 20: 19.)”

At the time I thought that Hezekiah’s response was a lot like us today, but I could not think of an illustration to demonstrate that. Now thanks to my American friend I have not one but two illustrations.

Firstly as my friend pointed out that sin (falling short of what is properly required of you) is not just your problem but the problem of others if not corrected. The Cane Toad was introduced to correct one sin/failing in one particular area, yet in turn has created other problems over half the Continent of Australia. Introducing failings into our lives is like letting Cane Toads into our Country. At first they may seem helpful, then a slight nuisance when their numbers increase, to becoming a full scale problem when they crowd out and kill the good things in our country and our lives.

Our failings, like the Cane Toads, will get out of control if we either ignore then or deny that they are a problem, till it becomes not only too obvious to deny but sometimes like currently with the Cane Toads, almost impossible to control let alone eradicate.

The second illustration I have is myself. As A Melbournian, without Cane Toads already under foot, I just didn’t recognize the enormity of the problem that Cane Toads not only can do but are already doing to the rest of MY country.

What about you? What problems are there around you that you can deal with now? Rather than leave them for the next generation or the one after that? Over to you: Walter

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

More Seeing But Not Seeing.

Shortly after celebrating our 3 month anniversary, my beard and I recently parted company. I had enjoyed the experience but after 3 months had had enough and so I made a clean cut with it and returned to work clean skinned once again. Expecting quite a few comments.

Well I got a few but nowhere near as many as I expected. It seems that many have simply not noticed. Or if they did have simply decided it was not worth commenting on.

Probably more of the first than the second as on my second day as a clean skin I had remarks about how I had finally gotten rid of the beard from at least two and possible three people who had seen me clean skinned the day before but never noticed then but made a fuss of noticing the next day.

How about you? Do you look around you; at your friends and work mates, with out really seeing them? Can you tell if they look any different today than yesterday, whether it be a shave, haircut, or even a new piece of clothing etc?

In other words, how observant are you of those around you? When you look at people do you really see them? Do you notice if they look happy or sad? Do you care for them? Or are you simply indifferent to those around you?

Tell me, what do you see when you look at other people? Another person just like you? Someone with similar cares and concerns, o simply someone to use to get what you want and discard when no longer relevant to you?

Is that also how you want others to see you? As someone to use? Or as someone who matters? Over to you: Walter

Monday, April 2, 2007

A Real Scary Thought.

Recently I greeted one of my regulars at work as usual. Unlike the American lass in “Blown Away despite having Done Little To Deserve it,” he is one I have given more than a little schlock to over the past month or so .He returned the greeting and said something very scary.

He said, “You are a very friendly guy”. Actually that wasn’t really scary, but what he followed it with was, “There should be more like you”.

Now that is scary! More "Me’s" around!

Now, without trying to either blow my own trumpet or sound too modest, I have to ask, what it is that I have done to have him think that.

That is probably a good question to ask even if he had said he wanted me to drop dead too, I guess.

I think that when ever somebody says something, good or bad, we should always ask ourselves, why did they say/think that?

Firstly to see if it is true or not; and secondly to see whether we can either improve or if bad, change our behaviour.

In my case, I really don’t think I am being over humble when I say I really haven’t done anything unusual or special to warrant that comment. So I ask why does the little that I do resound so well with this new friend of mine. A person I see for less than a minute a day, when I see him?

Am I really that nice? Or is everyone else just plain Nasty? I would really like to knew the answer to that as the responses I have been getting lately for doing nothing out of the ordinary that I can tell, is really scaring me. I really don’t thing I am doing anything different to most, so why am I getting such a positive response? Is it really a ”Dog eat dog” world out there and I am missing it? Please let me know the answer: Walter

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Blown Away despite having Done Little To Deserve it.

Over the past few months at Work I have had one particular customer come by about once a week or so to buy a bottle of water. She is probably in her late 20’s, maybe early 30’s. A very quiet , shy and reserved American lass, one I have not really been prepared to give my normal Shtick to, and one I can honestly say I have done absolutely nothing more than greet warmly, as I do all my customers, yet nothing near the normal “harassing” I give my “Chosen ones”. Despite this, I have obviously made some sort of impact on her as the last time she purchased her water from me , she told me that it was the last time she was going to do so.

As she has changed jobs and will now be driving to work, but before she left, she just wanted to thank me for my kindness and warmness to her these past few months.

Now I don’t wish to come across as falsely humble here, but I was metaphorically blown away by this, as I had really done nothing that I was aware of to warrant her thanks and appreciation. With some of the others that have come up and said goodbye to me in the past I have understood where they were coming from as I had regularly “Chided” and “Abused” them in my unique style, but with this lady I had never done so. But obviously the little that I did for her, which is what I try to do for all, was apparently a lot more than she normally experienced or even expected, and she wanted to tell me so. Even if it was only as she was leaving.

What about you? Do you greet all and sundry warmly, or do you reserve your warmth for only your friends. Has any one ever thanked you for your friendly greetings?

In return, have you ever thanked anyone for their friendly greetings? If there is someone that you now feel you should thank or recognize, do so now. Don’t wait till you are leaving! Do it now.

Thank someone today, if it is warranted. Appreciate them while they are still around. So, who do you appreciate today and why haven’t you told them so by now? Walter