Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Tommy Dorsey Orchestra 1941 - Song of India

Song of India was actually an Aria from the 1896 opera Sadko. The jazz version was recorded on this day in 1937 and was used in the film Sabu Dastagir in the year 1949. Great music, just love the big bands!

Jaz McKenzie

Sunday, 27 January 2013

1 Corinthians 13 V1+2 Live Life~Love Life WK4

1 Corinthians: 13 V1+2 WK 4
V.1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or clanging cymbal.
V.2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move all mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

These are two highly preached verses however I haven’t considered them for a very long time and am finding them curious and quite challenging! Initially when reading this I could not understand why somebody who lacked love would be able to speak with angel tongues. I have discovered that Biblically there were 70 languages spoken by 70 nations, and the Jews believed that the angels had given the nations their languages in the presence of God who was seated on his throne. This puts a slightly different slant on it and leaves me wondering whether there is a separate angel language.

A very valid point is that there are so many empty words spoken in this world, promises made and promises broken. In verse 1, we are led to believe that love itself is the key which denotes the importance of our words. Verse 1 also implies, by the choice of noisy instruments, that there is no true melody in our words leaving us to assume that love provides the melody for life.

A huge question following verse 2 is: why would someone who does not have love be given the gift of prophesy or knowledge? Maybe it’s just an example otherwise why would God fail to be discerning when distributing His precious gifts? I would imagine that if you have the gift of knowledge then you understand the strength and necessity for love and would strive to develop the characteristics of love within your nature.

What these verses are really here to show us is the importance of love and that ideally love underpins everything we do. In fact, love should run through everything we do, be evident in the way we treat people and affect the decisions we make; especially where others are concerned. Let's place our focus on love. Many songs have been written about genuine love so we'll finish with the line, ’make love your goal.’

Jaz McKenzie

If you would like to share your views or talents on Its Braap~Its Life contact: itsbraap@live.co.uk

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Franklin Vanderbilt Sings Unplugged for Sandy Hook + Great INFO on this artist!!

~IB~ continuing our 3 part series on Franklin Vanderbilt, bringing you right up to speed with the latest from this surprisingly multi-talented man!  Just listen to the above beautiful performance of, ‘Everybody’s Talking About Love,’ a song written by Franklin, dedicated to all those affected by the recent Sandy Hook tragedy. It is reflective of Franklin’s belief in the power of love. When asked for a quote to go with the song, Franklin said, ’LOVE IN THIS WORLD STILL EXIST.’ That is the truth. Whatever bad happens in the world we need to understand that love is ultimately the strongest force possible and will shine through.

Back to basics!

We have already checked out Franklin’s larger than life personality, worthy of any superstar!! So, let’s just observe a few facts relating to his musical roots so we can put all you new fans in the picture!

Franklin is a naturally gifted drummer, initially from the West side of Chicago, who was born into a musical family. Aged 5, Franklin was given a seriously good drumkit, a Ludwig, and went on to endorse his family’s belief in him by ultimately appearing on stage with world renowned artists such as legendary funk singer Chaka Khan- who whisked him off to drume in LA for two and a half years, Stanley Clarke- known for his brand of jazz fusion and guitarist/singer/songwriter Richie Kotzen.

Prior to this, I believe Franklin’s personality must have shone alongside his talent, enabling him to receive tuition from many well known jazz and blues artists during his teenage years... check website link below for full details. Having played his part in both school and church musical events and having clearly thrived off the influence of his Uncle Robert Vanderbilt, Franklin grew up with a serious, dedicated approach to music which combined with his tremendous energy formed the foundation of his career. Franklin's efforts caught Greg Parker’s attention, (look him up!) a blessings as Greg helped young Franklin venture into new genres which included rock. This proved extremely beneficial enabling Franklin to play with one of the world’s greatest musicians, Stevie Wonder in 2005 and his great talent was soon spotted by Rock star Lenny Kravitz, whom he has supported since 2007- present.

Back in 2008 I remember Franklin telling me that he wrote his own songs and he has also learnt to play the guitar. These talents are now being put to good use as Franklin recently recorded 2 singles which are available on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon and Deezer.  You have already heard the unplugged version of, ‘Everybody’s Talking About Love,’- check out the full instrumental version... and his other song, ‘ALIVE,’-WOW, Franklin just totally rocks it!!

 ‘This crazy place they call my brain.....  I think I’m gonna go insane,’

we can all identify with these strong lyrics however, as I said to Franklin, if sanity ultimately rules.. we’re OK!

Final thought, looking forward to our interview with Franklin!!! And equally to his first album, based on the promise which has been successfully delivered in Franklin’s debut singles. 

Big up to Royalprince!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/franklinvanderbilt.tallguydrummer

Jaz McKenzie

Friday, 25 January 2013

Happy Birthday~Feeling GOOD!

Last year I posted one of my most successful blogs, ‘Everyday’s a Birthday’ which received hundreds of views, constantly going back into the top most viewed blogs- can’t remember what I wrote so I think I’ll re-visit it! Once again it’s my Birthday and this time I regard it as a great opportunity to share the happiness and joy I am feeling at this point in my life.

The fact that I am continually happy is interesting because I am currently going through a difficult period yet can’t remember the last time I felt unhappy! A little minute’s restlessness now and again, yes, but not real unhappiness and I believe this is the result of taking a positive approach to life and believing that everything happens for the best. It is not easy changing to a totally positive approach because most of us have grown up within the ‘it’s not fair’ syndrome and will complain about things before stopping to consider them! It takes a great deal of focus to re-train and look at things in a consistently positive way and writing an article every week for Its Braap~Its Life certainly proved beneficial.

Of course, the greatest challenges occur when life appears to go wrong and the trick here is to apply the inverted negative, bearing in mind that good can come from every situation. The greatest people in the world refuse to be brought down by apparent failure, disappointment or distressing events. They rise above them by believing in and awaiting the greater good; whether you look at examples in society or in the Bible. If you look at your own experiences there are probably occasions that, when viewed retrospectively, you can see turned out for the best despite initial upset or even frustration. Many of us have had our hearts set on one particular thing... a property, course, potential love affair, yet it didn’t happen and in due time something or someone even more remarkable fills the gap. This is the beauty of life, we simply cannot see beyond our current horizons and when we live in the constant belief that the best will come to us... guess what? It will.

Thanks for all the Birthday Wishes & I wish you a beautiful, blessed day!

Jaz McKenzie

Thursday, 24 January 2013

DRUM STAR~ Poem dedicated to Franklin Vanderbilt

Royalprince Franklin Vanderbilt

Talking Drumming? The name that springs to mind is Lenny Kravitz drummer, Royalprince Franklin Vanderbilt... name courtesy of his Grandmother and with maximum charisma as such a regal title suggests!!! For the ease of writing let’s just stick with Royalprince's preferred mode of address: Franklin!

Why start with personality rather than talent? Because personality is as important as talent & Franklin has bucketfuls of both. Franklin is a people person and emanates welcoming vibes which must have aided his musical journey. In a small way, Franklin has proved influential in my life, the little piece of advice he imparted when we met, back in 2008, came to fruition!

The poem below was written to go with the performance I have just blogged, following which I met Franklin! Miracles do happen!

We will uncover more of Franklin's story this Saturday, and look forward to posting one of his songs.

Dedicated to Franklin Vanderbilt

Audience on fire
Place in total uproar
Whistling, hollering, clapping
Applause to the roll of the drums
Reverberating, sound cascading
Multiple rhythms driving
Beating out their moment of glory
All eyes focused unblinking
Drinking in the Master of his art
Virtuoso playing to perfection
Head high and bopping
Reminiscent of a peacock
All glory displayed
Teasing the throng!

No poor little soldier boy
Pur rup a pum pum
Somberly awaiting his king
Witness the percussion King
Seated on his stool of a throne
A glistening array of silver and gold
Shimmering at his fingertips
Responding to every command
Let the drum sticks ROOOOOOOOL
Flying deftly between cymbals
No time to pause as the solo glides along
The Fury of trained energy unsprung
Drumsticks fly free across the auditorium
Yet hands and feet play on
The roar of intermingled sounds
Rolling until with a final clash
The rhythm’s done!

Jaz McKenzie 2010 ©

Lenny Kravitz drummer Franklin Vanderbilt - Brixton Academy, London 2008

~IB~ will be taking a little look at Franklin Vanderbilt this week, so first, witness this incredible drum solo by the master!! I find Franklin to be mega inspirational & will post a poem that I wrote which was based upon this performance. Saturday we will share a video so that you can tune in to his wonderful voice! That said, press PLAY!!

Jaz McKenzie

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Be Braap~Be Inspired!!! Real Quotes from Real People!! #23

‘The minute you mention ‘barrier’ you create a barrier’ Nick Cave~ C.E.O. Linking London

ABOVE: Nick Cave with the new recruit!

Here we have some food for thought. How many times do we create un-necessary barriers in our day to day lives? It is so easy to find reasons that allow us not to achieve and yet we know that our thought processes are paramount when it comes to self belief. In his quote, young entrepreneur Nick is saying that when you consider something to be a barrier you are making it one therefore, looking at the end of the line!

Once you stop regarding things as potential barriers life flows and if a difficulty crops up you should merely consider it an obstacle. That way, you have a good chance of reaching your goals. The difference- Barriers are there to stop you whereas obstacles are there to be negotiated.

THOUGHT: The only barriers in life that need consideration are those designed for our mental, physical and spiritual safety!

Join Linking London on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LinkingLondon
Website coming SOON

Jaz McKenzie

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, 21 January 2013

Beautiful Sunrise~ new poem by Ramize Yardsoul

~IB~ is very pleased to bring a brand new poet's work to you and we mean brand new!! Ramize enjoys writing lyrics however has not attempted poetry before and was very pleased to have an opportunity to extend his talents.

Ramize was born in Jamaica & extended his musical knowledge by listening to a whole range of music, and being a musician has created a fusion which he calls, 'Yard Soul,' filling his own perfect niche. If you would like to connect with his music, google Ramize Yardsoul and access videos and more.


I woke up this morning and the first thing caught my eyes
was the beautiful ray of sun light shining through my window pain
so I got up and headed out side
where I was greeted by the birds singing
Mother Nature embraces me as the breath of life caresses my body
I feel a heavy weight lift from my shoulders
Oh what a sight to see
The red sun over the landscape
Its undeniable beauty stole my heart
I was reminded of the wonders of life
How grateful I am to exist in this time
To experience this enigma
Here in Jamaica is the place to be
basking under this beautiful sunrise

Ramize Yardsoul

If you would like to share your work on Its Braap~Its Life, send to itsbraap@live.co.uk

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Philippians 4:7 Live Life~Love Life WK 3

Philippians 4:V7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
The peace of God is one of those things which is pretty much beyond most people’s comprehension.

I believe there are times in life where we have a quick glimpse of true peace, but these occasions are very few so we need to develop an appreciation of them when they occur. The type of peace we experience is one of unity with ourselves, one another or our surroundings. I clearly remember being at church camp and taking my guitar off to a nearby hill, playing tunes before the dawn had truly broken; those feelings of peace remain vivid in my memory.

Two weeks ago I was looking at a print of the sun setting over the beach and it took me back to a recent experience where I developed a deep sense of peace just watching the River Thames one evening, in the company of a good friend. At the time I was feeling and not focussing, however writing this brings to mind a lyric: ‘Peace is flowing like a river,’ which was a popular song during my teens and it continues...’flowing out from you and me.’ I believe that we can share vibrations of peace with one another and this is what God expects, having shared His peace with us.

If you look at this verse again, it implies quite clearly that we have no understanding of God’s peace yet it is constantly with us, guarding our hearts and minds. How can we accept this invisible truth, especially when we are feeling depressed, angry, anxious or generally negative? Once again we go back to belief. If we believe that what God says is true we have that peace inside us and it can work as a defense barrier, keeping us on track. Our part is to recognize the situation we are in and call on God to help us. We control our minds and although it can be extremely difficult, with God’s help we have the power to change. This doesn’t necessarily mean instantly, but if we are aware of God’s peace we know that everything will work out in its time.

Alternatively, how aware are we of God's peace when life is going well and we are extremely busy? Again, we need to acknowledge the existence of God's gift of peace.

Exercise: When you get up in the morning just remind yourself that the peace of God is with you, keeping you close to God Himself and this may help you to face the difficult situations daily life throws your way and give thanks for all God's blessings.

Jaz McKenzie

Saturday, 19 January 2013


‘Can’t Get Enough’ – by Tony Tonnero- check out this exciting & very current song from the heart of Nigeria!  Tony writes his own lyrics & music with Can’t Get Enough based on the age old theme of attraction & strong relationships. Tony is very inspired by life in general, paying attention to the events in his life & transferring them to song. Life itself is key and Tony enjoys working everyday sounds into his music, often producing exciting new riddims.

This song however is on the Chillspot Riddim... well named having great flow and Tony has introduced some beautiful harmonies which really do it justice. Can’t Get Enough will feature on Tony Tonnero’s Debut album. Definitely one to download!

Jaz McKenzie

Friday, 18 January 2013

Whether the Weather!~ Its Just Life!!

Here in the UK we have been bombarded with snow- as predicted accurately by the weather man! Just goes to show the improvements technology has achieved... yes we all remember Michael Fish’s prediction being laughed away by the storms of 1987 in the unreliable old days!!

Snow is refreshing, at least when it first settles. I find it gives not only outdoors a new look, but also my kitchen due to the glass lean-too being severely darkened under the weight of snow... an eerie indoor light at best. It has a strange effect, making the room gloomy & cold regardless of the heating. I find I spend less time in the kitchen preferring to work at the front of the house which is distinctly more cosy in such conditions.

Here in the UK we are known for our intolerance and inability to cope with snow, the country slowing down if not grinding to a halt... especially public transport that is! For some reason, usually we don’t quite get it right, probably because incidents of severe weather are very few and far between. This year we have improved although many people left work early to make sure they could return home with comparative ease & some schools were closed for the day. On the positive side we are still operating some flights so maybe the learning curve is less steep.

I was very lucky to purchase a great pair of boots just last week having looked around for quite a while; a definite blessing, even giving me the opportunity to try them out! And my son was practicing a new skill, carrying a metal chair a few streets through the snow so that he had somewhere proper to sit round his friends house!! What can you say to that?

I think we are fortunate with our weather compared to many countries. This is because we do not suffer extremes, unlike many places who experience droughts or hurricanes, so time to be thankful- and after some rain & more snowfall I am sure we will be back to more even temperatures. One thing’s for sure... no hot temperatures this January!

So what lesson can we learn from this? I think the good old fashioned 'Be Prepared' is quite useful and stands us in good stead across the board.

Jaz McKenzie

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Don McLean - American Pie better quality

Believe it or not, this song was #1 in the American charts on this date back in 1972- an important day in black history too as this was the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr 1929 ... incidentally it was the date of the first Super Bowl~ Packers V Chiefs.

American Pie generates soooo much energy and emotion having fascinating, challenging lyrics expressing a slightly macbre undertone- let's hope the Father, Son & Holy Ghost won't be fleeing to the coast just yet. It was also a highly successful film and interestingly 'Vincent,' a touching tribute to Vincent Van Gough, came from the same album... which we have blogged previously (enter in search.)

Snippet of info: Donald is a family name which Don McLean inherited from his Grandfather who passed it to his Father.  His mother was an Italian who emigrated to New York, Don McLean's birth place.
Besides guitar, Don plays piano and banjo... a great combination of sounds.

Today we consider Don McLean to be a highly talented artist but what many of us are totally unaware of is Don's determination to reach that point. His first recorded album, 'Tapestry,' was rejected 72 times!!! Eventually it was released by Mediarts, so I consider Don an inspiration to those of you who have not yet been successful with your musical endeavours!

More information about Don McLean can be found on the Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_McLean or his own website

Jaz McKenzie

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Philippians 4:6. Live Life~Love Life WK 2

Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Most of us have occasion to be concerned and worried about aspects of our lives and sometimes we are in danger of allowing this worry to blow out of proportion, taking up too much of our time. In effect, the Bible gives us a direct command to stop worrying, showing us that anxiety is a negative that should be avoided. We are not told to overlook the problem, rather that we should present it to God and the interesting word here is ‘requests.’ By stating, ‘requests,’ this implies that we have taken time to consider our situation and have an idea of the way forward rather than just presenting a list of complaints. It is good to ask God for specific positive actions rather than a general, ‘get me out of this’ request!

We are told to ask ‘in prayer,’ and I imagine this is so that we are setting aside time in which to approach God. Prayer is a considered activity, even those little arrow prayers in times of need; a direct route to God that He has set in place so that we can communicate with Him.

Supplication means to ask in a humble and sometimes earnest way. It is not only God we need to approach in this manner, this is the element of respect we should uphold at all times when dealing with one another. Humility is a strength exuded by those who are comfortable with themselves and have a healthy respect for others, regardless of their station in life. Many of the greatest people are known to be humble. We must be humble when approaching God... we are mortal and God is immortal therefore equality does not exist.

When asking God for anything we are told to give thanks. Within society we usually ask politely and say thank you when we receive something. I think that thanksgiving once again directs our attention to the Omnipotence of God and also encourages us to expect a positive answer. If we ask without expectation we basically undervalue ourselves. The other reason for giving thanks is that we are giving our requests to God and leaving them there while we focus on taking practical steps and wait for God to bless our efforts.

Remember, God is inclined to help those who help themselves.

Jaz McKenzie

Friday, 11 January 2013

Hebrides Overture (Fingal's Cave') Op. 26

I heard this tune on the radio today and thought it was high time I featured it on ~IB~. I think it must be amazing to have the ability to create such a beautiful piece of music and to score an entire orchestra! The most I have ever produced is a short classical tune for the guitar and still haven't gone back to finish the recording!! Maybe one day LOL

Jaz McKenzie

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Be Braap~ Be Inspired!!! Real Quotes from Real People!! #22

“People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” - Apple Computers

This is very simple- the more you believe in yourself the more you can achieve because you will have a healthy approach to challenges and the determination to overcome until your goal is reached. What better example than Apple... the world has moved fast!

Jaz McKenzie

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, 7 January 2013

It is Well with My Soul - Piano - Greg Howlett

Time for some beautiful music on ~IB~ and this definitely fits the bill. I am not very familiar with this song however there is a very peaceful feel to it and you can close your eyes and relax.

Music is so important in life and great classical music has astonishing depth which can totally captivate you, taking your mind, or even imagination, in different directions. Songs about our soul do have a certain feel that you cannot mistake and this music goes from tranquil to triumphant very smoothly having an almost military feel at one point... and the ending, gorgeous!

Jaz McKenzie

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Genesis 1:1+5 Live Life~Love Life WK1

1. In the beginning God created the Heaven & the Earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
2. And God said, ’Let there be light.’

We know from this point that God went on to create the world and all that therein is over the next 6 days

Genesis 1:31 God saw all that He had made and it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning-the sixth day.

The first thought here is, our genes come from genesis. We are made in the image of God which is reinforced by the fact that we too create many of our greatest works from a place of great darkness, inside the human mind. Every project starts from basic material and in this case God created 2 things, quite literally the earth without shape and water, essential for life. We do not know how long God’s spirit was hovering above the earth before he made his genius stroke, that of flooding the earth with light hence illuminating the magnitude of the challenge in front of him. Neither do we know how long God existed prior to creating the world. If we look at our personalities, it is possible that God procrastinated for quite a while before putting his thoughts into action!

Bearing in mind that God is said to have known everything since the beginning of time, if I am understanding this correctly, it is interesting that he affirmed his creation by acknowledging that it was good... credit where credit is due, another excellent guideline. You will note that it does not say, ‘perfect.’ Maybe perfection really is just an illusion. We can also see that once God sets His mind to something he works hard and fast, making decisions, creating structure/earth forms/life and naming as he goes along. Once again this is an excellent example of project management and quite interesting as the actual names must have been open to interpretation.

Creation and how the world evolved have given way to huge scientific debates however there has to be an explanation. What is good about this explanation is that enables us as humans to actually relate to the human aspects of God.

If you wish to contribute an opinion please add as a comment.

Jaz McKenzie

Snapshots from the Bible. Intro. Live Life~Love Life WK1

From a religious perspective I was brought up in an interesting family environment. My Mother is a stay at home Christian who enjoys the occasional Holy Communion... C.of.E. and my Father was an agnostic who spent years trying to find God but believed he had failed. My sister and I both attended church throughout our childhood and joined in with church life to the full. I was a little precocious in Sunday School asking deliberately challenging questions, some of which I haven’t yet been able to answer... not surprisingly as we were forbidden to eat from the tree of knowledge!

My sister became a Christian in her teens and has served a faithful life spending over 10 years with her young family working to assist refugees in Austria. Her family moved back to England several years ago and continued their work with refugees in the Oxford area. They have recently changed direction slightly and moved into the field of voluntary work with prisoners, teaching a new programme helping prisoners to understand the impact of their crimes.

By contrast, I have had quite extensive periods in my life where God & church were everything, yet at other times have questioned the Christian viewpoint and can easily understand how an agnostic thinks. This is partly the reason for deciding upon studying, 'Snapshots from the Bible.' Last year, 'Live Life~Love Life' kept a very positive momentum flowing which we will be continuing in the general blogs however not necessarily in the same format. Another reason for undertaking this series is that my son is very keen to assist as he reads his Bible daily and it will be a great opportunity to spend constructive time with him and to get to understand his views.

We are aiming towards creating a thought provoking series and 'Snapshots from the Bible' is not a platform for stating controversial points of view, rather, I am looking at verses as they occur to me, or my Son, and seeing what thoughts God creates in our minds... How do the verses inspire us and do they have a practical application?

We would love you to feel involved and welcome your comments beneath the blog as it is by sharing with others we are able to grow.

We hope you will benefit from these mini studies. If you have any questions we can be reached at: itsbraap@live.co.uk

Jaz McKenzie

Saturday, 5 January 2013

The Monument~ London Live!

ABOVE: Monument

I love London and there is a great deal you can do here for free or next to nothing! A journey up the Monument is one such activity at the grand cost of £3 per person. Not a lot of money to climb the 311 stairs and step out onto the viewing platform, 61 metres above the ground, as a reward for your efforts.

The Monument was built as a memorial to the Great Fire of London which had wiped out the majority of the Medieval City of London, located within Roman walls. The fire started in a bakery in Pudding Lane Sept 2nd 1666 and raged for 3 days; it is exactly 61 metres from the Monument... very specific placing, reflected in the height of the Monument. Interestingly, as there was no such thing as a fire department, 12 Fire marshals were appointed to make sure the city was re-built as speedily as possible. They did such a good job that portraits were painted of them and one hangs in the Guildhall art collection to this day. Part of the reason that the City needed to be re-built quickly besides essentials such as trading, was due to the rumours that the fire had been started by foreigners and as a result violence and looting erupted... not much has changed with the passing of time has it

ABOVE: View form the top!

The Monument was designed by 2 people- Sir Christopher Wren and Dr. Robert Hooke, taking the form of a colossal Doric Column containing a canti-levered stone staircase which fortunately has several windows providing substantial ledges where you can sit when the legs are threatening to give way! Big thanks here to my friend for his patience!

After climbing the Monument we went to a nearby church and felt blessed to see pictures showing views of London back in the day enabling us to compare the increase in the height of the skyline from time passed. These days the Monument isn’t impressively tall however in its day it was one of the tallest buildings around and you could see great views across the city. In addition, from the viewing platform you are able to peer up at the copper urn with emergent flames- it was necessary to crop this photo so that it is clear.

I think that the Monument is the perfect representation of the post-fire era and a beautiful tower. It also represents a turning point and is the image I am taking forwards with me into the New Year. The Monument isn’t a symbol of hope, it is more a tribute to the excellent skills and hard work required to overcome one of the most devastating events in the history of London and the speed with which normality returned.

Jaz McKenzie

Friday, 4 January 2013

Simply Red - Money's Too Tight (To Mention)

Great description here of the poverty trap that so many people have found themselves in, especially those who have seriously splashed our for Christmas, particularly on their credit cards and might regret it for a long time to come.

I think most of us rebel against lack of funds occasionally and will spend on a whim... how often do we go on to justify such spending when really we don't need to? We cannot literally count every penny all of the time and do need to treat ourselves once in a while. There is a place for retail therapy however it is the extent of our spending that is important; knowing where to draw the line. I tend to buy something I actually need however at twice the price!

Money goes around and when we give where we can it is likely to come back further down the line when we need it. All forms of giving receive blessings and giving is something that should be done with a generous spirit.

I have to say that the new year has got off to a great start and we have had 3 beautiful days so far & today has also gone well. Part of this is due to looking for the goodness and beauty in life.. great, it works! So have yourselves a lovely weekend & keep the positive focus!

Jaz McKenzie

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Its Real Life!~ Fox Ahoy! #1

It's Real Life- New Series

Picture source: The Daily Telegraph

I thought it might be good to look at ordinary everyday incidents- the kind of thing we pay little attention to yet they contribute something to our day; so here is the first of the year. Feedback always welcomed!

It's the first day at work after Christmas and the children came in with smiles on their faces instead of the usual ‘first day back’ tears... what a blessing! After breakfast, while the children were playing happily, we spotted a couple of foxes out in the garden... cheeky urban foxes are not ideally suitable as playground pets are they!! With that thought in mind we banged on the window, so they looked up to acknowledge us and continued their nonchalant stroll around the premises. Gemma banged again and this time the largest took note & leapt up & over the brickwall, disappearing the other side. Not so with the slightly younger one. He peered at us and stared at the wall, did nothing and looked back at us once again... NOT GOOD! Gemma flapped at him, so he moved towards the wall, looked, stepped back, looked at us and stood still. I turned to Gemma & said, ’that darn fox hasn’t got a clue how to jump back over that wall!’ It continued prowling around the end of the garden, looking mournfully at the wall while Gemma carried on making a noise. Fox gave up and stood still once again... maybe we need to call the RSPCA, after all, we can’t have a fox stranded all day!!

I thought about it again and said to Gemma, looks as if we need to put that table close to the wall so he can get a leg up so to speak.’ Gemma replied, ‘and who is going to go out there and move the table?’ I was quite happy to do this, being fearless of foxes however Gemma decided to try ‘encouraging’ him again. ‘You can do this fox, you know you can!’ Foxy spotted a slightly different angle & miraculously managed to jump up and teeter unsteadily on top of the wall whilst attempting to stare at us... ‘go on, jump down,’ Gemma yelled & suddenly he came to his senses & leapt into the neighbours back garden... we have quite a few neighbours along that stretch of wall & a few urban foxes to go with them... help, BBQ chicken bones left as presents on our lawn in the summer months!

No doubt the dreaded foxes will return but it was quite an interesting interlude and one that the children showed zero interest in... I guess they were all very happy having their playmates back. Nowadays we all know that foxes have become very brave and although not domesticated are generally quite unconcerned about us humans. What I enjoyed was watching the fox attempt to solve his problem and the way he seemed to be looking more for help than displaying any other emotion. Obviously we are aware that the increase in urban foxes is worrying and a great topic for debate however they cannot be avoided and have become very much a part of London life. Our local foxes have never ventured close whilst the children are in the playgrounds but are quite brave when we are all indoors and obviously aspects of their presence are included in the risk assessments, another modern day essential.

If you have an interesting animal story or views on urban foxes that you wish to share please contact us!!! itsbraap@live.co.uk

Jaz McKenzie

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

'New Year's Cheer!'

Well, we are now a few hours into the New Year and this year I am sticking to one resolution... to enjoy each day to the max. Sounds simple enough but we all know there will be plenty of challenges along the way! Everything else that needs to be addressed can be within this framework and I will be doing a separate plan once last year's has been evaluated... loosely! Time is a premium and we always end up back at this point, wishing each other happiness and prosperity.

New Year’s Cheer

Hip Hip Hurray the New Year’s here!!
Please raise your glass to toast the future
Starting with merriment and cheer,
Drawing a curtain across all that has passed
Anticipating another new start at last!!
A chance to fly and reach the skies
Above sweet dreams and lullabies!
The freedom that childhood brings
Can never be sustained and yet,
All the lessons of life are indeed
Un-measureable by a bookies bet!

To live is to learn and that’s the truth.
Each of us here, the living proof.
Yet life is tough; let’s not complain-
Sunshine always dries the rain.
Sunshine, visible in the sky,
Sweet light of day, risen high
Bearing hope, the new dawn brings
Peace, love and true happiness
Dwelling upon the angel wings
That spread within your very heart.
So try to grasp the truth of this
And you will be able to impart...

Love is the leading light to our future...

The toast...

'Happiness & Blessings throughout the New Year!

Jaz McKenzie © 2013

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