Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Worth a thousand words...

Need I say more?

Monday, July 27, 2009

RDM #4 - Bees


On of my friends in the “real” world is a guy called David.  I’m not saying that’s his real name, but that is what he called himself on his blog David’s Short Stories.  Go and check out his blog for a few of his essays and stories about his life and family.

David has kindly allowed me to repost one of his early posts, entitled BEE.  If you’ve been following my blog over the last few days, you will note that all my posts have been about bees.  Go figure.



The Bee: a symbol of hard work. Now is it the Bee’s hard work that is rewarding or the fact that he finds nectar? Well, I’d say it’s the hard work. See, the Bee was born to work hard. It’s part of his purpose. Sure, if he finds nectar, it’s a bonus, and the hive will be pleased. However, if not, well that’s just fine with the hive which will support him in the knowledge that he works hard every day.

Seems a little visionless and doesn’t fall well within capitalist systems as his Work/Nectar ratio is poor. Nectar adds value to the hive and if enough is stored the Bee may even be afforded a softer workload or early retirement. But what is the benefit of a softer workload or early retirement? Being lazy, fat, well rested!? More likely it is an untimely, unfortunate death due to boredom.

If you take the Bee’s purpose away, he will become depressed, he needs to work.Conversely, if all the Bees work hard and have no vision, they may never find nectar. Will the hive die away? No, for if a bee fulfils his PURPOSE he need not concern himself with all the things out of his control. Miraculously the WIND may gust one day while on route to work and the Bee will stumble upon a new field of flowers for harvesting nectar.

You see, I believe that in this story, Purpose and Wind are linked.Purpose is like a resonant frequency. When you hit the right beat of your wings, work is easy. There is almost a doubling of your energy because what you are doing feels right and if you find that, you stick to it, even if it seems nectarless…;]

Don’t forget to leave a comment in the comment section below, and if you are also taking part in Rainy Day Monday then put a link to your RDM post either in the comment section, or in the Mister Linky Widget (if it is working). 

Sunday, July 26, 2009

My last camping trip – Part 2

So I started telling you yesterday about my last camping trip.  That name was chosen carefully, because it very nearly was my last camping trip. Ever. 

NOV 08 041So after an awesome fire on the Friday night, and spending most of the night keeping my fellow campers awake with my incessant coughing, we had the most beautiful day on the Saturday.  I mean it was lovely, and warm, and the sun coming over the hills lit the cliffs up and the glowed with gold.

I don’t think we actually moved much that day, except perhaps to follow the shade.  My kind of day.  As it got later, we decided that while the fire we had last night was awesome.  Tonight’s one was going to be frigintastic.  We abandoned our plans to bring wood back from the orchard by hand. Instead, four of us got into a bakkie (which is a pick-up truck ,for you foreigners) and drove up the hill.  We were going to do this thing right, even if we had to bring back every tree in the orchard.  Great plan.

We got to the orchard, which was about a quarter mile from the camp site, and we set about collecting wood.  Visions of fire danced in our heads. 

Then I saw IT.

A bee.

Or more accurately, it saw me; and started chasing me.

Now if you read my post on Friday, then you know that I am extremely allergic to bee stings.  At that point I had not been stung in nearly twenty years.  I had spent my whole life avoiding bees like the plague.  So I did what I normally do; I screamed like a girl and ran away. 

I kid you not.

0811825558-beesThat usually works, because bees on their own do not attack people.  This bee apparently had other ideas.  After running about 50 yards I stopped, and it was still following me, buzzing my face.  Cue mind-numbing fear.  We are about a quarter mile from camp - and my medical kit.  I have the necessary medication, but that only helps if I can get to it in time.  So getting away from the bee became very important to me. 

To cut a long story short(ish) I ran up and down the path four or five times before the bees eventually managed to sting me on my arm.  While I was running away!  How rude!

Luckily we had the bakkie, so I jumped in, and the driver rushed me back to the safety of my tent.  Once at the tent, I was able to get the sting out with my pocket knife, and reached for my allergy kit…

Which was gone!

I have been carrying that box with me for 25 years.  18 of those years without incident, but the kit has gone to all four corners of the country with me.  And now that I needed it, there was nothing.  To this day I don’t know how it ended up being left at home, but it was.  So I was stuck, miles from the nearest town, and probably at least an hour from the nearest medical help.  There was not much to do except look for a dying hole, and wait for anaphylactic shock to set in.  So I took an anti-histamine tablet, and sat down to see what would happen.  Not that I had any hope for the tablet, which was a sustained release, and thus would probably only start working after I was dead.  What happened next was…

Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.

I mean, the spider bite I had from the night before was swelling more than the sting.  I could not understand it.  Absolutely no reaction whatsoever.  Last time I got stung on my hand, it took three days before the swelling stopped spreading, and here it wasn’t even starting.  After a few minutes I couldn’t even feel it, and the next day I was fit to drive home. 

A few days later, after explaining the whole story to a friend of mine, I had a thought.  Luckily the friend was also my pharmacist, and thus perfectly qualified to support my theory.  It turns out that the cough mixture I was taking for my annoying cough has quite a strong anti-histamine in it.  So I had spent the entire night before, and morning, flooding my body with a prophylactic dose, strong enough to repel a dozen bees.  In fact I reckon the way I was drinking that stuff, the bee may have saved me from overdose by using some of it up.

So I didn’t complain about the cough anymore, even though it didn’t clear up until February.  I still don’t know what causes me to cough every year, but it just might have saved my life.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

My last camping trip – Part 1

coughingThe last time I went camping was in December 2008.  I remember it  well.  The reason I remember when it was is because I had my annual case of “Hundred Day Cough.”  Every year for the last five, from about November to February, I get sick, and cough.  A LOT.  I can’t breath e sometimes.  I go to the doctor, who give me antibiotics, and all sorts of things.  Nothing helps, and when the course is finished, I get sick again.  They do tests, and prescribe stronger stuff, and still it persists.  I get used to the fact that I am going to have to buy cough mixture pretty much non-stop until Valentine’s Day.  Last year they told me that if I didn’t get better soon, they were going to have to test me for Drug Resistant Tuberculosis, which was doing the rounds at that time.

And I was coughing a lot that weekend.  I took two bottles of cough mixture, just in case. 

  The viewNevertheless, I decided that if I was going to cough all December, I might as well do it in the most beautiful camp-site in the world.  See the pictures?  They don’t do it credit.  This place is out in the middle of nowhere, miles from the nearest town, and it is awesome.

DEC 08 Mike's FIRE!On the first night, we made the biggest fire we could find, and burned it until late that night; because one of the cool things about this site is the fact that just up the hill is a fruit orchard, belonging to the owners of the camp site, and there is enough dead wood there to burn a fire non-stop all year.  IT. IS. AWESOME!

I went with the members of my cell group, and it was a really good Camp site time to just “chill” and get over the year that was soon to end.  Even my persistent cough was not enough to put me off, although by the end of the first day I was drinking that cough mixture straight from the bottle.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Caffeinated Randomness : Bees


I hate bees.  Really I do. 

Now don’t give me any attitude, I have a  good reason;  I am extremely allergic to bee-stings.  I have been my whole life, since I was stung at about age 2 and my parents made the discovery.  I was stung a few times as a child, and the last time was at about 11 years old.  The swelling took three days to stop spreading, let alone go down.

That means I have spent more than a quarter of a century trying to avoid the little buggers; since I was old enough to understand the need.

But will they return the favour?  Oh, no!  They follow me.  All over.  There’s nothing scarier for me than the sound of a bee buzzing when I can’t see it.  The knowledge that the comparatively harmless little insect could decide to chase me, and then I will be in trouble.  Some of the scariest times in my life were when I was caught in a migrating swarm, and the time I nearly swallowed a bee. 

People used to tell me I was paranoid, but last year a bee chased me around a fruit orchard for nearly a minute before stinging me for no reason.  Despite the fact that there were three other guys standing perfectly still, the bee chooses to chase me.

I hate bees.  How can something so small be so nasty?

For more Caffeinated Randomness visit Andrea’s Blog.

Monday, July 20, 2009

RDM #3 – Science and Religion


My friend Mark over at Because He Lives says that “I have two kids, two dogs, two four chickens, two garages and if it wasn’t for my one wife Liezl I’d live in symmetry.” I’ve know Mark for a long time, since before he ran away from the Church to join the Circus (okay, technically it’s a Non-Denominational Church, but sometimes it’s hard to tell.)

His first blog post ever was one called Science and Religion, and I think it deserves a reprint. So here is this week’s Rainy Day Monday Post.

Science and Religion

scienceandreligion3 Yesterday I continued a rolling chat with a friend from work. Never wanting to skim the surface he always seeks to discuss topics of importance, the deep things of life. As payment he listens to my relentless campaign to position Christ as the Saviour of the World. He is not passive in our debates. He fights back with his own brand of religion, Atheism (I know I’m going to get flamed for that one). Sometimes we’re philosophical, sometimes we’re ethereal and sometimes it’s a cat fight, but it’s always interesting.

So we were discussing children and religion. The big point for the day was his belief that children shouldn’t be taught about God until they have the ability to choose whether or not they believe in “all this religion stuff” for themselves. It seems that this idea is being given serious weight in Europe and not just by the mega evangelist Richard Dawkins either (another comment, another flame).

So this morning my daughter Kathryn comes through to the bathroom. She’s three and knows everything. She has been having teaching time every day with her mom since her sister started school last week.

I’m a keenly enthusiastic parent, like everyone else, so I asked, “Kathryn, what did you learn in teaching time yesterday?”

“About angels,” was the response.

Now I’ve got this conversation I had had the day before floating around in my otherwise empty head and now I’m curious, so I pressed, “Angels?”

“Angels daddy.”

“Um, what about angels did mommy teach you honey?” I asked.

She joined her hands together in a shape in front of her and said, “Triangels daddy. Triangels.”

Who says science and religion can’t live side by side?

If you enjoy Wikipedia go and check out

On the subject of children and religion Proverbs 22 verse 6 says:

“ Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

I have still got a bit more training to do.

How well do you hold the tension between science and religion?

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Sunday, July 19, 2009


Some of you might remember a few months back I asked you to pray with me for little Harry, the young boy with the brain tumour.

Well Harry has had a hard road these last few months, and was sent home from hospital to be with his family a while back, because they were told there was nothing that could be done. They have been caring for him ever since, and keeping him in prayer.

On Friday Harry slipped into a coma, and this morning at about 5AM local time (GMT+2) he passed away. This was not unexpected, but has still been a huge shock to everyone.

Thank you to everyone who has prayed for him, and I would ask if you could say a pray for his family at this difficult time. Especially his parents, who have been hit quite hard by this.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Look at me, I'm a failure.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Who's birthday is it?

Does anyone have a birthday today? Anyone?

It might be mine, I'm not sure. It's kind of hard to tell. I might need your help with this one.
As some of you may recall, I celebrated my official birthday on 20 April. Thank you for all the birthday wishes. Much appreciated.
But here's the other side of the story. That side is the official Sharkbait mascot. If you look at my profile picture you'll see that it is a photograph of an actual key ring with a stuffed clownfish on it. I was given this key ring two years ago on 14 July 2007. It was a late birthday / just because present from some friends. They thought it was perfect because I had just written and presented a teaching series entitled Finding God in Finding Nemo. It was a good joke.
Then the next day, Sunday 15 July, I put the key ring on my bible bag and took it to church with me. Once there, I showed it to the person who had bought it for me, and said "This is my new friend, Sharkbait." The name just jumped into my head because of the scene in Finding Nemo.

If you don't know which scene I mean, then look here:

With me so far.

Well it was a few months later when I decided to start a group on Facebook to discuss issues of faith etc. I didn't want to do it under my own name, so I created a profile for Sharkbait, and he set up Sharkbait's Reef. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Well.... Sharkbait just took off! Soon he had more friends than the guy who had created him, and was all over the place. And I discovered something interesting. He could say things I couldn't. It gave me a huge freedom, and people started listening to him.

To a stuffed fish I ask you!!!
Anyhoo... Sharkbait, both the Facebook character and the mascot became quite popular, and started getting invited to parties and having fun. I kid you not.
So when I decided to start a blog here, it was natural that I thought of Sharkbait. I decided that I would use the same name as I used to have on Facebook, before they deleted me, and the rest is history.
I never imagined that I would end up with so many friends in the blogging world, or find so many amazing lives to follow. It has really been an amazing time, and I look forward to continuing the ride with you.
So here's the thing; I might have been born in April, but in a very real way, Sharkbait was not born until 14 July. So when do you think I should celebrate my birthday? I'm thinking I'm going to claim 14 July as my birthday, and 15 July as my christening.
What say you?

Monday, July 13, 2009

RDM #2 – Faith and Writing


In addition to pretending to be an orange fish, I also pretend to be a writer.  My pen name is David Seven.  No, it’s not my real name anymore than is Sharkbait, but it is a cool name.   I maintain a writing blog under this name called Seven’s Heaven.  The following is a post I did many months ago as part of a series called Faith and Writing.  Each post compares writing fiction with being a Christian, and looks for similarities.  I thought since I am publishing the 5th post in the series today, I would shamelessly self-promote the first one.  It’s not the best one, so you’ll have to read all the others to see how it improves.  (I recommend number 2.  It’s a doozy)


The first point is this.  What gives me the right to call myself a writer?

While I was doing the insane NaNoWriMo thing, I used to refer to myself as a writer all the time.  To everyone.  In every conversation I had.  After all, why not?  Now many would dispute my right to call myself a writer: after all, I have never written anything professionally, much less profoundly.  So what makes me think I am a writer?

Because I write.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a writer as : a person who writes or has written something.

So I am a writer.  I am allowed to call myself a writer because I write, regardless of how bad I write, or whether my writing is of any benefit to anyone else.  I am a writer because I write, and because I have chosen to call myself a writer.  However because I choose to call myself a writer, I have to keep writing, otherwise I am just pretending.

Kind of like when we call ourselves Christians?

I call myself a Christian, although I may very well be the worst one ever.  Just as I call myself a writer because I write, I call myself a Christian because I follow Christ.  The word Christian does not imply that I am very good at it, just as the word writer implies nothing about the quality of the work I produce.  Because we live in a world that expect so much of us, we feel as if we can’t call ourselves Christians, because we are not good examples.  But that is not how it works.

John 1:12 says “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” – English Standard Version

Not, “to all who believed, and were really good at it“  So I guess there is hope for me yet.  I can call myself a writer, and a Christian… because I write, and follow Christ. 

For more information on Rainy Day Mondays, go to this post.  If you are also taking part, leave a link to your post in the comments below so we can check it out as well. 

Friday, July 10, 2009

Caffeinated Randomness : Lucille

I have a confession…  I love B.B. King.  I always have.  That man is just so cool.  I also love the fact that all his guitars are named Lucille.  The story he tells is that when he was younger, and was playing at a night club in a barn, two drunks started a fight over a woman.  In the fight, one of them kicked over a kerosene lamp, and set the barn on fire. Two people died in the fire, and yet a young King ran back into the blazing structure to rescue his $30 Gibson.  After he recovered, he discovered that the woman the two men had been fighting over was named Lucille.  He then named his first guitar Lucille, as a reminder to himself: 1) Never fight over a woman, and 2) never run into burning buildings.
Whatever the truth, that man can make Lucille sing!
When I got my first car, I decided that I would take her out on the highway, and when we hit 120 (kph obviously – mph is just crazy) I would hit the radio button, and whatever was playing, that we would name her.  Well, she didn’t have a radio, and I never got around to installing the one I bought.  So instead, I decided to name her Lucille.  I tell people she is named after Lucille Ball, or the first girl I asked on a date (also Lucille) but actually it was inspired by this video.  I just love Eddie Murphy’s smile.
See how many celebrities you can spot in this one.


My next car I named Nina, after Nina Simone.  Oddly enough, since I did that, none of my Bonnie Tyler CDs work in the sound system.  Seriously. 

For more Caffeinated Randomness, go to Andrea’s Blog

Monday, July 6, 2009

RDM #1 – Wild at Mind


So this is my first post in the exciting new series called Rainy Day Mondays. If you need to be reminded what this is all about… then you have the memory of a slug, since I only started it like yesterday. In which case, click on the link and learn more about it.

Our first post is one I did in February in this very blog called Wild at Mind. Enjoy…


8ca3_1Last week I was watching a DVD with my cell group. We were watching the first episode in the Louis Giglio series entitled Lost in Translation. Which, by the way, I can highly recommend.

And while we are watching, I start thinking. I start thinking about what he is saying, and how to apply it to my life. I also start thinking about what questions I can ask the group about what we are hearing. At the same time, I am thinking about the phone call I got at work today, and what I need to do about it tomorrow, and I am also figuring out how to amend the ingredients in a carrot cake to be sugar-free, drawing up a shopping list, making mental notes about the training day I have to plan for later this month, calculating the cubic root of 1331 the long way (don't even ask) and doing scores of other things. And this is all while watching LOUIS GIGLIO, who I like. Can you imagine what would be going through my head if I was watching Pastor J John?

Okay, don't answer that.

The point, and yes I do have one, is that I have a pretty wild mind. But I don't think I am alone in this. (Except perhaps for the cubic root thing. That's just weird!) We all have hundreds of things going through our heads.

Have you ever had the experience of praying, and suddenly another thought comes to you? You get distracted by something you have to do later, or just thinking about something inconsequential. And how does that make you feel?

I can tell you how it makes me feel. Like a failure. Like I am failing GOD because I can't focus only on him. Like I should be able to just shut off my mind and listen to him in silence.

Is that how it makes you feel?

But is that right?

Of course I would love to be able to do that. To just stop thinking, and focus on nothing but GOD. To have a one-track mind. But here's the thing... I don't. GOD didn't make me that way. He didn't give me a one-track mind. He gave me a train-station in my head. Where Louis Giglio DVDs and Cake recipes cross paths at breakneck speed, and where my bible reading for this morning has to run side by side with Finding Nemo and an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Where Winnie the Pooh quotes get hitched up to memories of conversations I had three weeks ago.

In short, its a pretty wild place in my head. And that's the way GOD made it. The sort of place where I can take heavy bible lessons, and break them down by comparing them to a Pixar Animations film. The sort of place where I can listen completely to your question, and run through every book I have ever read on the subject, while at the same time praying to GOD to bring the right one to mind, and put all the information together. In short, the mind that makes me who I am today. The mind that I think GOD gave me to use for HIS glory.

And he knows it. I don't know for sure, but I think that when I am busy hitting my head against the wall, screaming "I am so sorry GOD, I don't know what is wrong with me today." He is saying, "Sharkbait, are you saying I made you wrong? Do you mean that you want me to give you a one-track mind?"

Heaven forbid!!!

In the DVD, entitled "Born to be wild" Louis suggests that the reason we suffer such frustration and stress in our lives is because we try to fit GOD into our own story for our life, instead of trying to fit ourselves into His story.

I want to take that a step further. I think that what GOD wants in our quiet time, is not that we would try and bring him to our problems, but rather that we would bring our problems to him. That we would make him present in every aspect, be it the DVD, or the carrot-cake recipe. That we would make him Lord of everything, not just the cool and holy stuff. That I wouldn't try and clean up a nice empty head so that we can sit in silence together, but that I would say, "Come in GOD, this is what I did today, and this is what I am going to do tomorrow. Please be with me, and let me feel your hand in mine as I go through this."

Or something like that.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Rainy Day Mondays

rdm Hanging around, nothing to do but frown.
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.

As I sit and write this post, it is indeed raining outside.  Although it is not a Monday.  It is in fact a Thursday, which is infinitely worse.  I never could get the hang of Thursdays.  But since no-one has yet written a song entitled “Rainy days and Thursdays” we’ll stick to the title if you don’t mind.

Over the last six months since I started blogging, I have read lots of blogs.  When I find a blogger whose work I enjoy, I usually try to go back to the beginning of their blog to read some of their older posts.  Or course sometimes that involves 3000 posts over the course of 5 years, in which case I skim the titles and read the ones that look like fun.  I also like to do this because many bloggers don’t have any comments for the first few months.  I suppose not many people go back and read the archives, so until you are well known and popular, you are largely blogging for your own benefit. 

Which is sad, because a lot of really good stuff gets lost then.  Admittedly most of my early stuff deserves to remain in obscurity, but sometimes a gem comes through.

So here’s my idea.  On Rainy Day Mondays I will be posting an old post – one that’s been lying around waiting for a rainy day.  Either one from one of my own sites, or one from another blog I follow or have read.  If I am posting from another blog, I will obviously get the permission from the owner first. 

If you would like to see any blog-posts - either your own, or that of another blogger you admire - appear on Rainy Day Mondays, feel free to send me a message.  My e-mail is and I will keep it anonymous.  So feel free to shamelessly self-promote one of your own posts, I’ll never tell it was you.  Promise.

If you like the idea, feel free to steal it.  As long as you post a link to my site as well with the badge on the side-bar.  Then come and post your link in my comment section.  On the off-chance that this thing actually takes off on other sites, I will invest in a Mr Linky Widget, but until then we’ll just have to go old-school.

Let’s start digging in the archives people.  There’s no use saving these gems for a rainy day.  Let’s brighten up our Rainy Day Monday with a blast from the past.