Thursday, 28 February 2013

~IB~ RECORD HALF TERM FOR FAIRFIELD HALLS

PRESS RELEASE:


Fairfield Halls saw a record-breaking week this month with the best-selling school half term to date.

Terry Deary’s popular history lessons were seen live on stage at the Ashcroft Theatre in Horrible Histories’ Terrible Tudors and Vile Victorians throughout the week adding to a busy Concert Hall programme. This included sold-out performances by dance duo Anton & Erin and folk stars Bellowhead, whose concert was preceded by a free entry Folk and Beer Festival. The ballets La Fille Mal Gardée and The Nutcracker, presented by Raymond Gubbay, also featured in the week’s programme, and the Bond film Skyfall saw the second highest attendance for a one-night screening.

This continued success follows hot on the heels of the Ashcroft Theatre’s recent sold out record-breaking week with Willy Russell’s hit musical Blood Brothers.

Simon Thomsett, Fairfield Halls’ Chief Executive, said “We’ve had a fantastic week and are delighted. The building has been buzzing and it’s been great to see such a strong support from our family audience through the week. There’s truly been something for everyone.”

For further information please contact:
Laura Roberts, Press Officer, Fairfield Halls
Tel: 020 8603 3931 Email: publicity@fairfield.co.uk
27 February 2013

~IB~ Thanks Laura for the update.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Be Braap~Be Inspired!!! Real Quotes from Real People!! #24


"The road to success is not straight. There's a curve called failure, a loop called confusion, Speed bumps called friends and red lights called enemies. Caution signs called family and flat tires called jobs~ But if you have a spare called determination and an engine called perseverance combined with insurance called faith and the drive to make it You'll reach a place called SUCCESS!!
~Maxx Benson


Whoever created this picture.. thanks~it's amazing!

I think this is a very smart quote from Max and summarizes the road we all travel. Nothing is perfect in life and very often the greater the problem the greater the rewards!! To take the best path we need to know and be true to ourselves and develop a loving attitude towards our enemies. As I conveyed on our Facebook page, enemies very often start out as friends however they allow their negative feelings to destroy a friendship- so don’t be too hard on other people. Even our families might be struggling with issues that we know nothing about which affects their attitude towards us. Keep the faith that all will be well and as Maxx says, approach life with faith, drive and determination- then you will succeed. Maybe not exactly in the way you foresaw, but surprise is part of the joy of life!

BE BRAAP! Send us your favourite quotes or sayings with a few words... you can include a photo of yourself (optional) to: itsbraap@live.co.uk These can be your own quotes or famous sayings and we will include them in this section: 'Be Braap~ Be Inspired.' NOTE: you do not have to be a great writer, simply send YOUR quote with YOUR thoughts in 10 or more words as the aim is to inspire others!

Monday, 25 February 2013

Ultimate Dog Tease... You have to watch this~MAAAD FUNNY!!



THIS HAD ME IN STITCHES~ NO MORE TO SAY!!

Jaz McKenzie

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Snapshots From The Bible WK8 Ecclesiastes 7 Death & Destiny

Ecclesiastes:7 v 1 & part of V2

‘A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth.’
‘... for death is the destiny of everyone, the living should take this to heart’


First thought: A bad name is like a bad smell- everyone screws their nose up and wishes to walk away! How conscious are we of our reputation? How conscious are we of our state of mind and the affect it has on others? How conscious are we of our deeds? Create awareness and create a good name so that it will always go before you.

As v2 says, ultimately we will all die and this verse gives the impression that everything we do should ultimately be aimed towards the time we leave this earth.

By contrast, birth is something we look forward to with great anticipation- a new life entering this world, a child as yet unknown whom we regard as being pure. Clay for our potter’s hand- incorrect of course however we as parents are under the illusion that we can mould our children! We cannot. What we can do is guide them in the ways we believe to be good and right. We bring them into our families, into our lives teaching them our beliefs, ethics, cultures and religious practices. We do not at any point think, ’I am preparing you for death,’ which would be totally inappropriate! It is actually the reality.

Each child is born with its own genetic make-up upon which we stamp our opinions. The expression, ’black sheep of the family,’ was very common place and applied to people who thought and acted differently to others within their circle. It does not mean there was anything wrong with that person in real terms. When you think about it, if people convert from one religion to another they are often cast aside by their loved ones. I wonder what God really thinks about that? After all, love knows no bounds, is patient, understanding and so on- especially forgiving, the cornerstone of the Christian religion. This is why we have to train ourselves to truly understand equality and appreciate the diversity within our world. God created the people you loathe, look down on, despise for their beliefs or habits. How do they view you?

So why is the day of death better than the day of life? Simple. We were born to die. Our journey through this world is a journey in which we are meant to share all the qualities of love, be compassionate, become wise, reach our potential by using the gifts God has given us, leave behind a legacy to benefit others, procreate and store up our treasures in heaven! You have to die in order to reach your destination- a bit like putting your ticket on the scanner before you can go through the barrier to board your train & start your journey, in this case your eternal life.

Have you ever stopped to think that death itself is love? If you believe in Jesus’ death you already know this yet do we think about it when friends or family, especially children, die before us? Death is love. It is an end to pain and suffering. Birth creates pain and death finishes it, leading us to the glory beyond or, for those who don’t believe in the ever after, it acts as a FULL STOP.

How do we embrace death? There is no mystery here. Our aim is to make the most of each day. Enjoy the here and now, use your talents and literally count your blessings giving God thanks and praise whilst living in the ways you believe to be right. That way when death comes to us we have lived a fulfilled life and the reality is we are ready; our work will have been done and we can pass peacefully into the ever after.


Jaz McKenzie

If you wish to share your opinions please use 'comment' or email to itsbraap@live.co.uk

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Pacso Feat. Rock To Art - Rum Punch



~IB~ Sharing the original sound of Rock To Art~ see article below, 'Rock To Art on the Rise' for a full update of their recent musical journey & you can rest assured there will be plenty more to this story!

Jaz McKenzie

Rock To Art on the Rise!!



The unique sound of Rock To Art has been cutting new waves in the surf of the urban music scene. Sherlock Art, Reptile Rock and Tony Perry, trio of Rock to Art band members, have been delivering highly individualized drum and bass to their fans for quite a while with tracks of this genre previously released on their album, 'Songs of Joy.'

Currently Rock To Art’s music has taken another exciting turn as the band have progressed and extended their musical repertoire. Sherlock explains, ‘we open our music doors to a wider range of musical style but love is still the main topic. Love of the people, love life, love nature. It’s positive music’ To gain a full appreciation of their new style follow this link and listen to the latest single, ‘Crazy,' available on the SD Audio label You will soon be able to familiarize yourself with this interesting & punchy hip hop/dancehall mix.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yF4dIOBAhw

Sherlock Art

Rock to Art are currently busy producing a new catalogue of tunes which captures their infectious style & cheerful personalities; planned releases taking us through to August. ‘Feel the Love’- original version + re-mix, definitely puts you into the carnival mood- a great thing for most of us considering the global weather! Speaking of carnival, I will post the collaboration of ‘Rum Punch,’ undertaken with fellow artist Pacso... a very interesting little number! Other new tracks to be sampled on the link below include 'Groove Me,' which will appeal to all those of you who love Shaggy's track 'Oh Carolina,' and 'Can't Touch My Style,' both of which are designed to get you up on the dance floor- highly recommended for your party play list. 'Never Gonna Let You Go,' ia an up-beat track of a romantic nature, again with universal appeal.

Rock To Art have enjoyed many personal appearances throughout the past year including a recent performance at the Alhambra Theatre, Bradford, delivering their new music which was enthusiastically received! A video of this performance in which they are suited and booted- love the look guys, will shortly be posted on our ~IB~ official page... link to the right!

Rock to Arts music can be purchased on both iTunes and Amazon:

iTunes: http://bit.ly/UZqTlt
Amazon: http://amzn.to/RKzwAw

Reptile Rock (Left) with Sherlock

We’ll finish with a little shout out from Rock To Art, almost a mission statement, to one and all:

'Peace to out the world. People to join and help the nation to survive- sharing and caring for others. All people are equal on the face of the earth.'

Jaz McKenzie

If you make interesting music and would like to feature on Its Braap~Its Life contact us at itsbraap@live.co.uk

Announcement~ Taking the plunge!!

Top of the Monument December 2012

I have read my poetry in public once before and it was somewhat scary being an open mic evening primarily aimed towards rappers and dancehall artists! Today, if you are in the Croydon area, you will be able to catch me reciting 'Piranah in the Goldfish Bowl,' (enter title in the search box to view) at the Croydon Clocktower library between 2-4pm. In order to share the flow of my poetry I am planning to do some spoken word audios or possibly a vidoe- if my son can spare a few moments to help out as he's very busy setting up his company Linking UK!

I am currently re-booting the Its Braap facebook page~ link to the right. Please visit and join. You can leave comments under the posts or add posts of your own.

Finally, a huge THANK YOU to everyone for your on-going support, particularly the people who call on our services. We are very pleased to assist by covering events or sharing poetry and other positive posts.

Have an amazing day.

Jaz McKenzie

If you would like to share your poetry etc on Its Braap~Its Life please send to: itsbraap@live.co.uk

Friday, 22 February 2013

Following on from Horrible Histories!! Queen Elizabeth I's speech to the Spanish Armada

Here we have a link to a beautifully presented table of the British Monarchs for those of you who might like to take a look... after all, history is history and there's nothing can change that!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_English_monarchs



This next piece is taken from Famous Quotes:

The Spanish Armada Speech by Queen Elizabeth I featured is in the form of extracts, passages or lines from the Spanish Armada Speech by Queen Elizabeth I. A speech by Queen Elizabeth I can be described as a motivational speech, persuasive speech or inspirational speech. A Quote or citation from the Spanish Armada Speech by Queen Elizabeth I provides an illustration of, or allusion to, the famous events of the day during the era of Queen Elizabeth I. Use the Spanish Armada Speech by Queen Elizabeth I with passages and lines taken as direct citations from this famous speech using the language and words used by Queen Elizabeth I in their own language and dialect within the content of the speech. This well-known speech by Queen Elizabeth I, famed for its powers of verbal and oral communication, makes excellent use of the words and language. Use of native tongue of Queen Elizabeth I within the speech makes it powerful and relevant to historic occasions. A persuasive, motivational and inspirational speech by Queen Elizabeth I. The famous Queen Elizabeth I had excellent powers of oration which are highlighted forever in History by the Spanish Armada Speech. ( I decided against the video as it wasn't well read!)

The Spanish Armada a Speech by Queen Elizabeth I of England
Addressed to the English army at Tilbury Fort - 1588


My loving people, we have been persuaded by some, that are careful of our safety, to take heed how we commit ourselves to armed multitudes, for fear of treachery; but I assure you, I do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people.

Let tyrants fear; I have always so behaved myself that, under God, I have placed my chiefest strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts and good will of my subjects. And therefore I am come amongst you at this time, not as for my recreation or sport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live or die amongst you all; to lay down, for my God, and for my kingdom, and for my people, my honour and my blood, even the dust.

I know I have but the body of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart of a king, and of a king of England, too; and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realms: to which, rather than any dishonour should grow by me, I myself will take up arms; I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field.

I know already, by your forwardness, that you have deserved rewards and crowns; and we do assure you, on the word of a prince, they shall be duly paid you. In the mean my lieutenant general shall be in my stead, than whom never prince commanded a more noble and worthy subject; not doubting by your obedience to my general, by your concord in the camp, and by your valour in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over the enemies of my God, of my kingdom, and of my people.




The horrors of war will always remain exactly that- horrors. Time we learnt our lesson and addressed daily life respecting our individuality and do our utmost to live in peace.

Jaz McKenzie

Thursday, 21 February 2013

~IB~ Baby Fairfield Halls- Horrible Histories Review

Horrible Histories~ Terrible Tudors

Pictures of Anne Boleyn's Execution courtesy of Fairfield Halls

Earlier this week ~IB~ was invited to attend the live stage show of Horrible Histories performed by the Birmingham Stage Company at Fairfield Halls, Croydon. It was great fun for children and adults alike, sticking closely to the somewhat gory books written by Terry Deary which were later adapted for television.

The stage was set even before the show began, the theatre being thoroughly ‘spooked out.’ A shadowy axe swung occasionally across the screen, grabbing our attention, in synchronization with eerie sounds including the regular blip blip of dripping water- I felt as if I was locked in a primitive castle cell!

The show opened in true panto style, ‘My granny can shout louder than that and she’s been dead for 30 years!'- that line worked wonders and ensured that the audience was fully engaged!



British history is packed with drama, Horrible Histories bringing it to life in an innovative way; complex bloody historical facts being easily, amusingly and spectacularly conveyed by a cast of 4 characters:
Mr Dee- Christopher Gunter, Dross- Tessa Vale, Drab- Ashley Bowden and Miss Tree- Amanda Wright, whose interactions with one another and the audience ensured a professional and greatly enjoyable performance. I certainly came away feeling my historical memory bank had been significantly re-booted!

We started by learning about King Richard III, a shrewd soldier who came to grief during the Battle of Bosworth Field in which he was betrayed, killed and succeeded by Henry Tudor, the first of the Tudors who lived in exile... to avoid possible confusion in young minds we were told that exile was not a place and King Henry VII lived in France! Must mention, fun counting games when working out the Kings' titles.

Miss Tree did her best to keep a handle on proceedings, insisting that the good side of the Tudors was shared to prevent the poor children from being overwhelmed by horrible facts ... they sounded happy enough to me and reveled in singing the song about Henry VIII’s six wives whilst portraits of the wives flashed before them... so easy to remember following such hilarity, gore and visual stimuli. The structure was well thought out as basic learning patterns were adhered to- major historical facts re-capped before moving on to the next scene. Henry VIII’s formation of the Church of England & the difference between Catholics and protestants was clearly delivered with the use of football songs and the waving of purple/gold or red/white scarves, a touch of brilliance.

Besides following the order of the monarchy in clear detail right through to Elizabeth I, no nastiness spared particularly in relation to the gruesome and long winded execution of Queen Mary of Scots resulting in a bouncing head, we were enlightened regarding common crimes and punishments along with the cures for various ailments... if you don’t know I doubt you wish to know!



The second half provided my first ever experience of 3D theatre and it was fantastic!! Watching the Spanish Armada bopping around on the sea and avoiding the shrapnel that came flying towards us... fortunately I had glasses on glasses so did not quite receive the full impact which caused many of the audience to shriek with feigned shock, surprise and delight! My favourite part of the show was Queen Elizabeth I’s Armada speech and the portrayal of her increasing insanity- but saying that all was excellent.

Horrible Histories was well acted - kudo’s all round and let us remember to include the director, Phil Clark, understudy, William Towler, backstage team- special mention to Amazing Interactives for their 3D effects and executive producer Philip Compton. Even the programme was well thought out being educational and aimed at creating additional interest and cementing facts for our recently educated children... cough cough!

Jaz McKenzie

If you would like a review of your production or wish to write a review of any art form contact itsbraap@live.co.uk






Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Horrible Histories - Victorian Work Song.. review coming!!



~IB~ is using this an introduction to Horrible Histories- we will be reviewing the stage show tomorrow which was extremely different but fantastic, having a small cast who presented the Terrible Tudors... tonight they are busy with the Vile Victorians!

I can imagine how hard it is for children to relate to this as a real way of life- we can barely imagine it ourselves; a thought uppermost in my mind when walking around the older areas of London observing the little alleyways and imagining them in poor lighting as depicted on Jack the Ripper, to name but one programme. Yet poverty is still rife with many families today experiencing severe food shortages and poor housing, damp walls and so forth. At least a trip to the GP is free here in the UK and children receive free medication.

It cannot be said that the Horrible Histories glorify previous ages, they do not being a true representation of the facts and who knows how modern society will be depicted in years from now? Yes we believe ourselves to be civilized but the truth is we don't know what society will be like in the future. Some of the things we regard as normal might be viewed as appalling... how about sitting for hours in front of a computer screen whilst playing a game and not eating/ sleeping or toileting yourself properly? World of Warcraft took credit for that and some young people died as a result.

The crimes in our society are horrendous yet we sit glued to CSI and  action movies soaking it all in... these are just our ordinary everyday lives, never mind  looking at the true horrors in society.

So, who knows, we watch the Horrible Histories whilst we may well be living through a Horrible History in the making... perish the thought!!

Jaz McKenzie

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Ecclesiasties 5: V15 Live Life~Love Life WK7

Ecclesiasties 5: V15
‘Everyone comes naked from their mother’s womb, and as everyone comes, so they depart. They take nothing from their toil that they can carry in their hands.’


A pretty obvious statement that we are all very familiar with and everyone knows that you can’t take earthly gains with you... as in ‘carry in their hands.’

Religions and cultures have seen death from their different perspectives, with ancient cultures such as the Egyptians providing for people’s journey into the afterlife. Today we believe that we are more educated and have a greater understanding of death therefore we realize that physical objects cannot pass over with us. As we can see, the above verse deals strictly with the physical body and we know that the works of our hands refers to all our earthly possessions, many of which we leave to our families or possibly friends.

We spend a great deal of time fulfilling our ambitions, aiming to improve our standing in life and increasing our wealth to provide a better future within this world.
The question is, ’how much time do we spend preparing ourselves for the next world?’

Some people are very aware of the importance pertaining to spirituality and make it a priority in their daily lives. Others do not give this a great deal of consideration with many failing to believe in the existence of God, simply living from day to day.

Whatever we believe, our quality of life is much improved once we learn to execute the basics of love and compassion in great measure to those around us. One very popular expression used constantly today is, ‘what goes around comes around.’ I think there is every reason to extend this thinking to the afterlife and again, some religions actually base their thinking in relating to re-incarnation... and who can prove that they are wrong?

Here are some questions to help us take a look at our different behaviours:
- Have you ever stopped to consider what impressions people are really forming of you?
- If you step back, how do you view yourself?
- What are you teaching your children through your words and actions?

I think it would be very scary if we could see our thoughts and deeds divided into two columns... good and bad would be ample! I know many people will chip in here and say that you cannot get to Heaven through good works, only through God’s grace; even so, quality of life is paramount! Good deeds lead to great/positive feelings which boost you up whereas bad thoughts and actions drag us down. Whatever your views, this life is more about what you give than what you have and strong emotional investment may well travel with us into the next world... somewhere beyond our greatest imaginings.

Jaz McKenzie

If you wish to write a poem or article for Its Braap~Its Life contact: itsbraap@live.co.uk

Saturday, 16 February 2013

World's best Michael Jackson impersonator in Dubai + Ben Bowman as Michael Jackson



Here we have the recognized #1 Michael Jackson impersonator however, tonight there is competition from Ben Bowman's live show, guaranteed to be fantastic.. or Jackolicious!! Ben, who has also appeared worldwide, will be busy entertaining at the Fairfield Halls, Croydon tonight.

Ben Michael Jackson and his team of dancers will be thrilling the audience with great routines with  the atmosphere pretty electric as people will be looking forward to an exceptionally good performance.- Ben treated the public to a brief glimpse of his skills at the Whitgift Shopping Centre, Croydon and afterwards had a queue of people all wanting photo's taken with him, many requesting his autograph -we all know busy shoppers won't hang around just for the sake of it so you know he was goooooood!

Great to know that the Michael Jackson vibe is very much alive in the City of London & worldwide.

Jaz McKenzie


Friday, 15 February 2013

The Other Half- A thought inspired by Valentine’s Day!



It’s called conditioning. We are born into a society where we are expected to pair up once we have reached adulthood to form a stable and loving relationship with a lifelong partner. We know this often doesn't work to plan and maybe the reason is that society is putting the emphasis on the wrong part of the emotional equation.

The expressions, ’my other half,’ or ‘my better half,’ both have a way of implying that individuality weakens us by the very use of the word 'half.' They almost create a subliminal impression that you are incomplete as an individual which can encourage us to rely to some extent on our partners. Whereas a great relationship will include elements of partnership, if you are not complete within yourself, how can you expect to form a good relationship with another person and avoid relying on them too heavily? I think it has been hard for those born into traditional family systems where culturally women are expected to marry a man who will provide for them with both parties having pre-ordained roles. Once reliant it is not easy to break free and be self sufficient if the marriage dissolves at some point or you find yourself 'in-charge' for any other reason.

Every type of relationship has its advantages and disadvantages making it hard to be 100% content. Whatever your situation, the key is know yourself and find ways to interest, stimulate, organize and occupy yourself. There are practical considerations to be addressed and if you are single you will be totally responsible for all aspects of your life. The good thing is that we can gain practical help, advice and more importantly, work on our emotions and reactions, finding ways to enjoy life individually and with partners and friends.

The way I see it, halves do exist but essentially the world should be full of wholes!!

Jaz McKenzie

Thursday, 14 February 2013

How Love Lies~ Valentine's Poem!


How Love Lies
(A Valentine’s poem inspired by the ballet Swan Lake)

Black Swan (Beware Love Lies)
Curiously intimate,
shady passion distorted
as only jealous love will epitomize.
Provocatively flaunted
Whilst the black swan twirls and flies
Placing Cupid’s stolen arrow
Directly in your heart!
But don’t be fooled
Bewitched one-
Awaken with a start!

Awareness dawns
Soon the needles of doubt
Will surely prick through
the anaesthetically woven lies
Turn away from such falsehood
And re-focus your eyes
On the quality of true love,
The ultimate, sublime
And seek again
Until you find
Your one true valentine!


White Swan (Love’s truth)
A world of curious intimacies
Stored in the recess of your mind
Unleashed from secret chambers
Feelings, so divine
Flowing freely between us
Exciting both our hearts
Through love we stand together
And yet we stand apart

Love, how would you view it,
A twinkle in the eye?
Or fathomed deeply in the soul
letting lose with a cry!
Like the wings of the white swan
Dancing, beating time
Joyfully,
Enchantingly,
Captivatingly divine,
The purest form of love poured out for you,
Sweet Valentine


Jaz McKenzie © 2013

If you wish to share your poetry please contact itsbraap@live.co.uk

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Black Swan Official Dance Scene with Natalie Portman



Today we are sharing a ballet scene from 'The Black Swan,' a very clever movie where you can easily lose yourself in the mix of 'reality' and delusional paranoia. This film is very interesting and extremely well cast with a fascinating storyline, probably the result of deep psychological research and ideally suited to the Swan Lake theme... even if ballet is not your favourite flavour, this film is definitely worth fitting into your viewing at some point!

Jaz McKenzie

Monday, 11 February 2013

~IB~ Baby Fair field Halls. Michael Jackson~Ben

JACKSON LIVE IN CONCERT
STARRING BEN
AND HIS INCREDIBLE LIVE BAND & DANCERS


Fairfield Halls, Croydon
Saturday 16 February 2013, 8pm

Write up courtesy of the Fairfield Halls

Michael Jackson is not only remembered as one of the most influential artists of all time, but many of today’s artists have been inspired by his iconic style. His career spanned nearly five decades of music, and he was continually at the forefront of popular music.

JACKSON LIVE IN CONCERT, starring long-time fan and hugely talented performer Ben, recreates the Michael Jackson experience with his stunning rendition of all his favourite songs at Fairfield Halls on Saturday 16 February at 8pm.

Ben’s portrayal of Jackson has to be the most accurate and exciting tribute to the King of Pop to have ever toured UK theatres. Ben is joined on the stage by his Incredible Band and Dancers who work their way through all the hits.

He’s got the look, the moonwalk and the voice! His renditions of Thriller, Beat It and Billie Jean are truly sensational.

JACKSON LIVE IN CONCERT features all-live vocals and music, fabulous costumes, and of course all the signature dance moves associated so fondly with the undisputed ‘King of Pop’. Pure MJ!

Tickets are available from the Fairfield Box Office 020 8688 9291 or online at www.fairfield.co.uk priced Adults £21, Children £14. A booking fee of £2.25 per ticket may apply.


For further information please contact: Laura Roberts, Press Officer, Fairfield Halls tel: 020 8603 3931 email: publicity@fairfield.co.uk

Sunday, 10 February 2013

1 Timothy 5: v1+2 Live Life~Love Life WK6

1 Timothy 5: V1+2
‘Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity’


These verses were selected randomly and strike me as a great example of a very old fashioned command. Yet, at the same time, it puts family relationships back in the centre of our daily lives and emphasizes respect for all people, promoting it as good practice.

How often do we speak to friends, colleagues and strangers with more courtesy than we use at home? It can be hard to remain polite when you are exhausted or worried and dealing with constant demands. You may have serious business or financial worries. Having dependents can be very hard work whether they are younger, elderly or have specific needs. The good old fashioned ‘taking a breath and counting to ten,’ can allow enough breathing space to allow you to deal with a difficult situation in an appropriate manner.

When out and about, sadly there are many occasions when we witness parents shouting and even swearing at their children and also high levels of bad language between school children or other groups of people. This has become the norm amongst some people and is a reflection of poor communication and a lack of respect.

The word ‘rebuke’ is very old school and no longer in everyday vocabulary. We have replaced it with the blanket version, ‘discipline.’ Either way, we are told to ‘encourage,’ which is to use a positive approach and still in line with modern thinking. Psychology teaches us that the gentle but firm approach is more effective than shouting and ‘rebuking’ people. None of us like to be ‘told off’ and encouragement usually includes guidance to help future performance. The use of the term ‘purity’ in modern society is hard to put into any perspective so if you would like to define it in the comments please do! Pure is a very definite word and very few of us are pure in thought, mind or deed. I think society is complex and so far in advance of Biblical times although there has been a great deal of immorality recorded in the Bible and throughout history.

A thought: possibly we have more loneliness within modern society as a result of the erosion of strong family units and people are looking for ways to comfort themselves. Also, whereas immorality has always existed we are bombarded with immoral behaviour via the media- just consider the storylines in TV and films, coupled with modern realty shows. The internet has given unlimited access to gossip, dubious websites and in some cases social media are used in ways which would be considered immoral.

I think we just have to be aware of how we speak to everyone and think of the best ways to communicate important messages whether at home, work or elsewhere doing so with love and understanding in our hearts.

Jaz McKenzie

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Angels speak... How Lorna Byrne’s life is an inspiration.

INCLUDES POEM 'LET ANGELS SPEAK.'


I give thanks for Lorna Byrne, author of ‘Angels in My Hair,’ for having had the courage to follow God’s commands throughout her life and do exactly as the angels bid. I believe that her story will have brought hope and enlightenment to many people across the globe.

There have been saints throughout the ages and without entering into a huge debate, my perception is that Lorna has walked in the presence of the Angels and of God Himself, always following God’s bidding and that certainly puts her aside from the rest of us.

I have always believed in angels, especially my guardian angel, so find it encouraging when Lorna tells us how easy it is to speak to angels and await their reply. Not only do we have a guardian angel whom we can call on, we have other angels who are able to help in any situation and simply await an opportunity. It is also worth remembering that angels like to be involved in our lives at all times, in times of joy as well as trouble.

Lorna’s description of being pulled towards heaven and the way she speaks about forgiveness have answered questions that I have previously been unable to get a reasonable explanation for, bettering my understanding of the love of God... I never grasped why it is implied that more people would go to hell than heaven- according to many faiths. God is love and God created us so I am thankful to discover that people generally repent and are accepted into Heaven. What a relief!

ABOVE: Lorna Byrne- The Telegraph
Forgiveness is quintessential to many religions and it is easy to speak of but hard to accept. We see some of our sins as being so terrible, it is hard to imagine how God, who is perfect, can repeatedly forgive. It can be a struggle to pull ourselves together and make the changes required in our characters. This takes us back to the support of angels, whom Lorna reassures us, join us in prayer- so your prayer power automatically doubles!

I have written the following poem to try and capture the self destructive aspects of our characters and how God will forgive, ultimately taking us beyond to the beauty of heaven.

Let Angels Speak!

Waters of destruction flow under the bridge
Soon the joys of tomorrow will come
The Springtime for growth in God’s people is here
Our barren and cold winter done.
Sins of the past will be laid to rest
The tombstone reads ‘Certified Dead.’
All that God gave us we used as we chose
Sometimes it was weakness that led.
Led us to places of which we’re ashamed
Cast aside in the light of His love
Sometimes we have to endure such pain
Oh to fly- the white wings of a dove

Yet our human suffering stops on this earth
When God draws us to heaven above.
All is forgiven and all is made new
In the light of His infinite love
Your angel is here to help show the way
And open your spiritual eyes
The joy of the Lord will give you strength
Whilst preparing for God’s great surprise.

We are Heaven sent
Earth spent
And divine we will arise!

Jaz McKenzie 2013 ©

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Daniel Beaty - Knock Knock (Def Jam Poetry)



Incredibly strong poem, 'Knock Knock,' by actor/musician Daniel Beaty, speaking about the loss of his father who was imprisoned during his childhood... not certain whether this is a personal experience although it certainly sounds like it and gives us an enlightened perspective of absent fathers. Daniel's  first ever children's book has been based on Knock Knock and may fill a gap in many children's lives... published by Little Brown Books and available this year.

Daniel has definitely experienced success in his career, which may be due to his zeal for tackling the harder side of life, combined with a truly innovative flair. In addition to his children's book Daniel has helped create a spoken word ballet to be performed shortly by the Dance Theater of Harlem... fascinating and definitely one to go and watch. Daniel has written musicals and a film series, proving himself highly productive and has won a very prestigious award- here is the full description taken from the WIKI:

Theater Communications Group awarded Daniel the 2011 Peter Zeisler Memorial Award that recognizes an individual or organization whose work exemplifies pioneering practices in theatre, are dedicated to the freedom of expression, and are unafraid of taking risks for the advancement of the art form.

I will definitely be keeping my eyes open to see what else Daniel produces! One highly talented individual!

Jaz McKenzie.


Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Bob Marley-Dont Worry about a thing-Three little birds



Time to celebrate Bob Marley's Birthday!! Wonderful message which is encouraging and the tone of the song comforting and joyous.. that's where the depth of Bob's talent comes into play. This song is loved by millions because once heard it is easy to recall in times of trouble and there is something about those 3 little birds which is pure magic!!

Whenever you face an upset or a challenge in life, remember, every little thing's gonna be alright.

Jaz McKenzie

Sunday, 3 February 2013

1 Corinthians 13 V3 Live Life~Love Life WK5

1 Corinthians 13 V3
If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I have nothing.

Very interesting verse here, which really encourages us to think about what we are doing and to look at our motives when helping other people. There are people who enjoy giving and some do so with great showmanship, never resisting the urge to tell others about it, however this is not the way love operates. If your inspiration for helping others comes from a genuine sense of love you will do your best for others without expecting a reward. Very often the top earners in society make sure they give back, often quietly yet on other occasions by setting up trusts and charities.

I would question why somebody would be prepared to give up everything and go around boasting as I don’t see how they can gain anything from it. Maybe these people believe that by doing so they can earn a spot in heaven. Why would you give up everything and choose to live in hardship? It is a very unusual choice to make and sounds as if the person has been through some type of mentally challenge, possibly as the result of an on-going situation. If it were as a result of an instant response to a situation, that would be inspired by love or through pity.

Maybe you have made changes in your life through love with the intention of helping others as the result of a ‘calling.’ Where love is concerned we can make a difference and our sacrifice will benefit the people that God has intended. God has the power to transform people individually and communities as a whole, so sacrifice for love as the result of God’s direction is a must.

What happens next? If you have given up everything indiscriminately and by so doing take on a life of hardship, you will become reliant upon the generosity of others and your status changes from that of ‘joyful giver’ who is in a position to help others, to taking on the role of one of societies dependents. If you have given away everything through love then we are led to believe that we will be rewarded and possibly be blessed with more riches even in this life than we have ever known.

Jaz McKenzie

If you wish to add your opinion as a comment please do or write to: itsbraap@live.co.uk

Friday, 1 February 2013

Don't Take Your Eye off the Ball!

Picture from Edgehill Sports

We all know that this is a basic rule in any ball centred sport and that if you have a split second’s lack of concentration you can miss that all important opportunity to take possession of the ball and monopolize play for your team. So why is it that we can easily lose focus in our own lives?

I think that basic rule is, life is rarely constant. When we are in a good state of mind life rolls along, but being human we can be vulnerable to change and everyone has their own achilles heel which is guaranteed to tip the scales towards the negative. It is possible to remain in an essentially happy state however this is something that most of us have to work at and permanent change takes a while to develop. If our main quest is to be happy, as soon as we become aware that we are not feeling happy we need to identify why and do something about it!

Sometimes we are reacting to circumstances beyond our control which may appear insurmountable and really rock our world. Our personal responses are at our command. We have the ability to take control because our minds are extremely powerful tools. We usually react to things automatically, good and bad, with learned responses which will yield the usual feelings to match any given situation. People who are enlightened will realise that that we have the power to change those learned responses and will make a conscious effort to think things through and react in the most positive manner.

Other bad feelings occur as a course of our usual everyday actions. Sometimes we do things which will feed back into our negative bases, for instance, needless worry. We might completely misread a situation because we do not have all the facts, possessing limited knowledge about another person’s current situation. Things happen to other people which we may be unaware of and often we realise later how off the mark our assumptions were! It is good practice to try and keep an open mind until we know the truth behind something that has been bothering us.

Sometimes we develop negative habits which need to be broken. Occasionally people start giving out a list of ‘to do’s’ before they say good morning; maybe you keep checking things which feeds a form of neurosis/paranoia. Of course, some people have serious obsessive illnesses and may require proper medical help. Either way, these behaviours are undesirable and feed into our worry system. They need replacing with confident, positive behaviour patterns.

A way to start combating negative trends is to actively fill your mind with good feelings, being thankful for the good things in our lives and using positive words and phrases at all opportunities to embrace life. Try finding the best in all situations. If things go wrong it is and indicator that something somewhere in the situation is not right. It might be as simple as timing, too much or too little expectation or something totally off the radar that is upsetting the balance of life. Whatever the situation, a positive attitude, prayer and patience will usually reveal the best thing for us when the time is right.

ADVICE: To get the best out of live, stay in touch with your feelings and work on being happy and chasing your dreams.

Jaz McKenzie

If you would like to write an article for 'Its Braap~Its Life' send to: itsbraap@live.co.uk