TIP FOR BLIND OR VISUALLY IMPAIRED WORDPRESS BLOGGERS USING ANDROID DEVICES

If you’re a blind or visually impaired WordPress blogger as well as an Android user, and if you find it difficult posting the body of a blog entry using the WordPress mobile application, please don’t let that discourage you from blogging with WordPress or let you move the content of your blog to other blogging sites?

Instead, you can download Google Keep from the Play Store, create a note containing whatever you’d like to post in your WordPress blog, and then share it to your blog at WordPress. That’s what I’ve been doing since Saturday, and that’s how I’ll keep doing it for as long as I have an Android phone and the option to share notes on Keep to WordPress is available. To me, it’s much easier posting like this than to try posting my text directly using the WordPress application.

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TEAR BOTTLES AND BOOKS

No matter where you are in the world, it’s common knowledge that there are different kinds of bottles: glass bottles, plastic bottles, and so on. Then people label bottles according to their contents, for example, if you hear the term “coke bottle”, you know that it’s a bottle in which coke is (or has been) packaged. You also get water bottles which you take with you to the gym (if you gym) or which has to go in your pre-schoolers bag for the pre-school he/she attends in which water is poured for use during the time of the stay there.. And then, according to the Bible, there’s also such a thing as tear bottles! Did you know that?

In a secular sense, tear-shedding is often used as a therapeutical means to rid yourself of bottled-up negative emotions such as sadness, frustration, anger, and the like. Some use it as an effective tool to manipulate others to get from them the reaction they want, taking advantage of the love and soft nature of others, and there are some who firmly believe that weeping shows weakness.

As for me, although I feel better after having a good cry and laughing after that seems to me like sunshine after the rain, I don’t cry to get what I want, neither do I believe that crying is always a bad thing. I’m one of those who believe in a good cry every once in awhile. It really has done wonders for me in the past!

When it comes to spiritual life and meditation, I don’t know about you, but I have cried many tears privately, especially when talking to my Creator about something that really upsets me or when I’m expressing a desire to God by means of prayer. There’s not just one thing that can result in a tearful prayer; many things may give you reason to shed tears when you talk to God, and among these reasons are:

Tears of remorse/regret/shame for what’s been done;
Tears of joy;
Tears of supplication;
Tears of utter gratitude or thankfulness;
Tears of awe and wonder;
Tears of grief, pain or sadness;
Tears of compassion;
Tears of disappointment;
Or tears simply because words aren’t enough to express your heart to God.

From Scripture I only used to know that God sees our tears, or else, the Bible would not have said that there will be an end to the time of tears for those who suffered great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, because God will wipe away all tears from their eyes. There won’t be any need anymore to cry tears of compassion, supplication, sadness, regret/remorse, and the like, because things such as sorrow, death, crying, or pain, and the like will be non-existent and all things will be made new. I don’t think that there will even be room for tears of joy, gratitude, awe, or tears due to the lack of men to express their heart to God, because God will dwell among them and they will be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.

But, to be quite honest, this alone wasn’t enough to comfort me. Yes, I believe that, if you pray to God and believe He is there, He hears your prayers and will answer, even though we may not always like the answer. However, I have often wondered: are the tears we cry just body fluid that gets wiped off by tissues and that lands up in the dust bin? Are they really just part of the time when they pour down our faces? Is the hope that there will someday be no more tears the only comfort we have in this life, or could it be possible that there’s more to it?

Because I couldn’t seem to find an answer to these questions and be comforted by the hope in the belief that there will be a time of zero tears in future, I used to believe (without having any Scripture to starve my belief) that a prayer filled with many tears and only a few words has more value to God than a prayer with many words but no tears.

Then, yesterday morning, I read Psalm 56. As I read it, I was praying that Scripture over my husband as he is currently working his last month’s notice, and some of his colleagues, (or one in, particular), really seem to watch his every move so they can have something to say against him to score more points with the CEO for biting his back and getting him into trouble.

To those of you who acknowledge that there is such a thing as spiritual warfare, I recommend that you read this Psalm the next time it seems as if you (or someone with whom you happen to fellowship) are constantly being attacked by people around you whose only aim seems to be to find something against you so they can get you into trouble. That’s because in that Psalm, David talks about slanderers pursuing him all day long, attacking him in their pride by always twisting his words and plotting to harm him.

But anyway, returning to the subject of what I read and prayed, I was reading the Psalm out loud, and then I would pause after each verse to reflect on it. I remember specifically praying that my husband’s first reflex at the moment he becomes aware of the attack against him must be to trust in God’s Word, not fearing whatever men can do to him, no matter what happens.

Then, verse 8 in particular got my attention, and I admit that I reflected a lot longer on that specific verse than all the others in that Psalm. In the King James Version, it reads: “Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?”

Wait, I thought to myself. Let’s stop the bus right here and now! What’s this thing about tears in bottles and books? How can they be in both at the same time? What do other English translations say in the same verse?

Remember now, English is NOT my first language, so I had to turn to other English translations that are easier to read and to which I have access, so I consulted the NIV first, because although NIV is most definitely not my first choice when I have to read the Bible in English, it has often helped me to understand what’s being said on a level suitable for second language readers.

Verse 8 in the last-mentioned translation reads: “Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll {Or [put my tears in your wineskin]} — are they not in your record?”

Except for helping me to understand that the term “wanderings” as used in the King James Version doesn’t mean to go astray, but that it refers to lamenting, the part where “bottle” is translated to mean “whineskin” had me a little confused, so I closed NIV and consulted the Young’s Literal Translation, which is a much more literal translation of the Bible, and where verse 8 reads: “My wandering Thou hast counted, Thou — place Thou my tear in Thy bottle, Are they not in Thy book?” Again the references to tears being placed in a bottle and a book.

Thus, from the study I’ve done on this in my capacity as a lay person who makes mistakes but desires to be a difference-maker and not being a theologian who studied for years and who may have expert knowledge as to the correctness of the way in which the Hebrew texts were translated, I take this verse to mean that God indeed takes note of each and every prayer made, more specially so if tears are involved. Physically, we feel the tears flowing down our faces when we tearfully pray, and we use tissues or something alike to remove all traces of our crying so that we may look better, but also so that others don’t see that we’ve cried. And when we cry before people, the only thing they can really do is to help us clean our faces and give us advice as to how to proceed when having to deal with toxic people in life.

Yet, in another unseen dimention, something so unbelievably amazing and astonishing happens to the tears we cry while talking to God. Not only does God take note of our lamentations; our tears are captured in bottles, and records are being kept of our lamentations! This means that we don’t have to feel guilty about crying because we think we’re spending our time in an unproductive way when we cry, because our tears are being packaged in bottles, and our lamentations to God are being recorded. Wow!That’s, good news worth sharing indeed!
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MOTHERLY IMPATIENCE

Today is the last day of the second school term in South Africa. Usually, when the schools close for the school holidays, we go to my mother’s on the last day of the week to fetch our daughter, but this won’t be happening this weekend due to my husband’s obligations and duties at work. He will be working this weekend, including tomorrow, so there goes our plans to have her with us for the entire school holiday! L

Seeing that I have no work to do for any clients from home, entertaining her and spending some quality time with her during the day while my husband is working and her little brother is attending preschool wouldn’t have been a problem for me at all! I was really looking forward to doing exactly that for the entire school holiday, and it’s really not as if we don’t need some mother-daughter time together!

Not only do I feel disappointed; I’m also impatient to see her, because I really miss her! This only builds upon my impatience.

On top of that, my little brother is turning eighteen tomorrow, so we won’t be able to celebrate his special day with him. True, at that age, teens want their friends around, but it would’ve been so nice to see him face to face and wish him a happy birthday where he is able to physically see me and return my hugs.

I guess I just have to get over it, hey? Because it won’t help me to complain about it. I think you can understand my frustration, disappointment, and motherly impatience though …

TIRED OF CHANGE!!!

I never thought I’d ever say this, but I’m actually at a point in my life where I can say with all honesty and sincerity and without being ungrateful for what I have that I’m tired of change! Three years ago, I wouldn’t have said something like this, because I didn’t think it was possible to develop an aversion to change, but after having gone through so many transitions during the past two years, my prayers and wishes went from praying and hoping for a change to praying and wishing for stability, because change and instability have come to be synonymous terms to me, although I’m aware that they are not one and the same thing technically speaking.

During the course of last week, my husband was offered employment by a private security company that provides security and protection services to its clients. It doesn’t compete with the business of his current employer, which is into the business of security solutions. Security solutions and services is not one and the same thing. Security solutions deal with the installation of cameras, alarms, and tracking devices, while security services involve the protection of people and their property.

After thinking about it a lot and having considered many factors which I will not mention here as that can come down to the violation of the confidentiality clause which my husband has signed with his current employer, my husband decided to accept the offer, and yesterday he handed in his resignation letter.

This means that we have to look for other accommodation during the days and weeks to follow, and to me, that’s a tedious job! However, it’s not half as bad as having to move!

Although moving is tiring, that’s not the only thing about it that concerns me. Besides us having to adapt to our new environment and my husband’s new working hours, we also have children who will be affected ONCE AGAIN by this transition. The eldest, who is eight years old, is currently staying with my parents due to the transport issues we had when she went to grade 1 last year, and we don’t want to disrupt her by having her move in with us while we’re still in the process of getting on our feet and stabilizing, so she won’t be affected as badly as her brother. He’s four now and has just settled into a great English preschool here in Fourways. Now we have to find him a pre-school to which he can go so that he will be properly stimulated during the day, which means that we’ll have to keep asking and looking around as we don’t know the vicinity where my husband will be working, and thus, we don’t know of a good preschool to which we can send him which will be close to the place to which we will be moving so he can settle in as soon as possible after our move to the new home. Of course, there is also the transportation to and from his preschool which is a matter of grave concern to me. I can’t have him transported by uber every day, so I hope to God someone can help me find transport facilities appropriate for the transportation of your child.

I know that we have to find a place to rent first before worrying about my son’s future preschool and his transportation to and from the preschool, but these thoughts worry me nevertheless. What frustrates me even more is that I’m not sure where to start asking for help, so I feel powerless to do anything about this. I’m not saying that there’s no hope though. I’m just saying that not knowing where to start makes me feel powerless.

I guess all of this means that it’s off to yet another freaking change in our lives for us! I’m not mad at my husband for taking the offer though. I’m really just sick of not knowing more or less what the near future holds for us. I know that none of us can say for sure what tomorrow holds or if we’ll live to see the next day, but from experience, I’ve learnt that it helps a lot to know that at least someone in the family has a stable and steady job and that there are little prospects of future financial difficulty which might require restructuring and retrenchments. It really does make a difference, because it gives you and your children a stable platform to function and develop.

RESTRICTIONS ON THE FREEDOM TO HUG

This article first appeared here: http://jasmijn31.thoughts.com/posts/the-freedom-to-hug and was amended.

 

Ok! Ok! I admit without any sense of shame, remorse or guilt that I AM A HUGGER! I love handing out hugs, and on days like today, I wish the people I want to give a hug were large and soft teddies, because teddies have no hang-ups receiving a hug from anyone, and because it feels so good to hold one! They always feel so soft, and yes, I also admit that holding one does make me feel like I’m being comforted. It’s not that I would actually look for a teddy in my daughter’s room to hug it for the sake of finding comfort when she’s not there or when I’m alone at home. However, I found myself feeling that way when I do hold a large teddy in my arms, although I realize that a teddy really is supposed to be just a thing – a toy meant for kids or a decoration in a child’s room, and not a pacifier for an adult. It’d be interesting to hear the opinion of an expert in psychology about this, but anyway, the point I’m trying to get across is that the freedom to hug anyone whenever and wherever I wanted to would’ve made it so much easier for me to express myself.

 

So what is it that stops huggers like myself from just going to someone and giving him/her a hug whenever we feel like it? Actually, there is more than just one restriction on this freedom, and I will list some of them below:

 

  1. Respect For the Person

 

I’ve heard from many people that they don’t like to be hugged. Various reasons may exist for this refusal, for example, some people have a phobia for germs, so they don’t like being hugged by somebody for fear that they’d accumulate a cold, flu, pneumonia, or some other disease, because they don’t know with whom the person associated themselves earlier that day.

 

There are people who just don’t like physical contact at all, so they don’t give out hugs, neither do they like to receive them.

 

I also know a minister who wouldn’t let any female member of his congregation hug him, and the reason he’s given will be discussed later in this article. However, although I think this is a bit far-fetched, I respect his view, and so should anyone who is a hugger, because you simply can and should not make another person feel forced or obliged to receive your hug when there’s a possibility that the person doesn’t like to be hugged! The reason is that you’re actually invading the private and personal space of someone else, and if you know he/she doesn’t like to be hugged but you embrace him/her just to prove a point, it proves that you have no respect or regard for another person’s feelings, views or personal preferences. Shame on you!

 

  1. Hugs Can Solicit Actions Harmful to Existing Relationships

 

Hugs can give rise to feelings such as physical attraction and may even solicit sexual thoughts and desires, which is not a bad thing in itself if the two persons engaging in the hug are both free or in a serious relationship with each other, but which is indeed a bad thing if it happens between two persons who are in a committed relationship with someone else.

 

Now, we all know how many ministers have fallen just by engaging in extra-marital affairs, and this was also the reason given by the minister to which I referred in the previous paragraph for his policy not to hug any female member of his congregation.

 

My opinion on the matter is that not all hugs between two people ALWAYS solicit sexual thoughts and/or desires. Many times, a hug stems from a person’s spontaneous reaction which does not necessarily have something to do with physical attraction. It can, for example, not be said that someone who is glad to see a friend or a minister whom she hasn’t seen in quite a while feels sexually attracted to him or that he’ll feel sexually attracted to her if she literally leaps towards him with her arms wide open and embraces him. She may do it simply because she’s glad to see him. In my humble opinion, which I don’t intend to force down anyone else’s throat, it’s quite an absurd and gross generalisation to say that all hugs by members of the opposite sex will or does solicit sexual desires! However, by saying this, I’m not denying the fact that it has happened in the past that a hug led to other things which had a drastic and harmful effect on people’s personal lives and/or careers due to the violation and even the termination of marriages and other relationships.

 

  1. The Sick World We Live in

 

We all know that this world is filled with sick people who can appear to give an innocent hug to someone else, but who have hidden agendas because of the depravity of their minds. I classify child rapists and -molesters in this category!

 

Due to these incidents, schools often implement a no-touching policy between teachers and children. It’s actually sad that children’s need to be touched (hugged) have to make room for no-touching policies due to the existence of sick people! Isn’t it? However, I understand the ratio behind it.

 

  1. Fear of Rejection

 

Many people who like to hug others often don’t do so because they fear being rejected by a prospective recipient. Very often, this fear of rejection is the end result of instances of rejection in the past.

 

  1. Environmental Circumstances

 

Many times, people don’t want to hug other people as an expression of love or comfort simply because it’s too hot.

 

  1. Self-awareness

 

I’m sure that everyone who smells like sweat during a very hot summer day or after long hours of work in the sun can feel very self-conscious about the way he/she feels and smells, so he/she frankly tells you, “I’m not going to hug you because I’m sweaty and dirty.” To me, it’s not nice hugging a person who’s all sticky because of sweat anyway, so I appreciate it if another hugger tells me this.

 

In conclusion, I have to add that, due to following these restrictions, I found myself feeling stupid on more than one occasion, because I don’t know exactly how to handle it when I find myself in a situation where I know that someone needs to be comforted and/or consoled, but I cannot express my empathy or love with a hug! Nevertheless, I remain with the person to let him/her know that I’m there, because sometimes just being there for someone can mean so much more than the speaking of many words.

 

I have drawn the conclusion that a hug is a comforting tool which should always be used with absolute caution and wisdom.