SHOE GIVING JOY IN AFRICA

Ian Payne with shoe donationsIan Payne noticed conditions of runners’ shoes when he started a running group in Kampala. When staff sergeant Ian Payne moved his family from the UK to Uganda for work, little did he know that he would also embark on a journey of generosity. For the past eight months Ian has been on secondment at the High Commission of Uganda in the capital Kampala. He started a running group at a local boxing club and saw condition of the runners’ shoes. “I looked down and saw the boys’ shoes were in a bad way,” says Ian, who is originally from London. Felt fortunate for myself and my family but very sad inside as I could see poverty and I did not like it. Yet they were smiling and happy getting on with life, humbled me and I wanted to help.Boxing club member with shoesA young boxing club member receiving a pair of trainers. Ian thought about the number of shoes he no longer wore and quickly decided to donate his shoes. He enlisted help of friends and family to give away their spare shoes too. When I received them kitted out guys but had loads of shoes left over, says Ian who is part of the Adjutant General’s Corps in the British Army. Ian stops at a roadside to give trainers to youngsters. When he drives out of Kampala for business, Ian says he sees many people walking on roads with no shoes. “Out west it’s really bad,” he said. I keep shoes at the back of my vehicle if I see people without shoes, I pull over and give them a pair.wp-1578331833242.jpg Faces light up given shoes that arrived Ian thought of where he could donate them, visited the local orphanage giving dozens of shoes to children. Joy makes a difference, evident straightaway. Seeing their faces light up, they are so happy to receive something that seems simple to us. Many dropped to their knees saying ‘God bless you’, and praying.” When Ian posted appeal for shoe sharing on social media, the response was huge. So some people have contacted him saying they have created shoe collection stations in their local areas. Ian’s colleagues on the operational tours send donations. Many people sent shoes that have hardly been worn and are in good condition. Others may be old but are better than no shoes.Boxes of shoes in lorrySo far, Ian has received the majority of donations from the UK, but he has had interest from other parts of the world from Cyprus to the US. Its snowballed a social media response,” says Ian. “It is like a full-time job replying to messages. It started with trainers has expanded to any kind of shoes although don’t accept high heels! Its not convenient for long distance walks and types of jobs done. He says people also wanted to send him clothes but it was just him handling all the donations. I’m a one-man band but I recently asked my daughters to help me. Ian wants to take the trainers to more schools, particularly in rural areas. Ian wants to go to more schools orphanages particularly in rural areas where he has identified a need for shoes, for children. I really can’t stress enough how grateful they are to receive a pair of shoes,” he says. “Yet I still feel saddened as I barely scratched surface and so much more can be done.” African weather is so hot you can fry egg on stone. The sunshine heats earth bakes the feet and thorns prick soles of the feet.wp-1578395647559.jpg

HAVE A BLESSED NEW YEAR

wp-1577809360837.gifwp-1577809388033.gifwp-1577808116475.gifwp-1577824025752.gifwp-1577809377530.gifwp-1577812758419.gifwp-1577799495625.jpgwp-1577799452181.jpgwp-1577808829869.jpgwp-1577810754154.gif

wp-1577756452917.jpg

DR. EPHRAIM KWAKU AMU

wp-1577717343772.jpgDr Ephraim Kwaku Amu was a famous Ghanaian composer, musictechnologist and teacher. He was born, 13 September 1899 at Peki-Avetile or Abenase in Peki in the Volta Region a male child born on Wednesday, Kwaku. His father Stephen Amuyaa Papa Stenafo was woodcarver, mother Sarah Akoram Ama. Ephraim was baptised by Rev. Rudolf Mallet, 22 October 1899. Amu in May 1906 aged 12 at the Peki-Blengo E.P. Boarding Middle School shows his interest in music and agriculture. Enjoyed music played in church by Mr Karl Theodore Ntem who played organ. Amu’s teacher of music on organ in return for work on Mr Ntem’s farm on Saturdays taught him  music he loved and did agriculture. In 1915/16 year, Amu passed the standard 7 School Leaving Certificate and Abetifi teachers Seminary Exams. With others walk 150 miles from Peki to Abetifi with boxes on head to start teacher training education. They rest at Koforidua, and NkawkawAsubone and Obomen. In college joined 25 others, Amu saw some students classmates had steel bicycles built his own bicycle from wood carved from a wooden slab in the bush near college.wp-1577730979485.jpgwp-1577717366195.jpgwp-1577719597840.jpgwp-1577717355385.jpgwp-1577717377384.jpgThe students discovered his handiwork named it Amu. It is on record the son of Swiss principal, Stern, enjoyed rides on Amu wooden cycle. Amu’s ingenuity led to carved wooden balls for their school games, which replaced imported balls used at the seminary. Amu completed his four-year teacher-catechist training in 1919. Newly graduating as a teacher-catechist, was one of the two preachers selected in the pulpit on behalf of fellow mates to preach to express appreciation to the tutors and townsfolk. The sermon was an assessment of the quality of the theological training offered to students. Amu chose sermon text from Matthew 25:40 for occasion themed, “the LORD will thank you for all the good you do for HIS little ones.” Amu used Twi and Ewe in his short sermon. Amu is known for his use atenteben, Ghanaian bamboo flute he promoted and popularized the instrument throughout the country, and composed music for it. Amu composed “Yen Ara Asase Ni” -This is our own land a nationally acclaimed patriotic song is performed at national functions.wp-1577717331895.jpgIn 1926 Amu transferred on promotion to the Presbyterian Mission Seminary at Akropong on recommendation of the Synod Committee of the Eʋe Presbyteria Hame. At Akropong, in his new ways of doing things, actions, ideas, unorthodox. In charge of gardening request students to use waste to manure college farm the students unpleased it was a taboo for an educated man to waste. Proved example carried waste to college farm ahead of unwilling students. Dr. Ephraim Amu employed no one to sweep his rooms, wash his plates or run errands for him. No manual work too menial or hard for him, believed in using African cultural artefacts and good African technological and social inventions. He preferred title Owura to “mister” prefix to his name. Dr Ephraim Amu selected Twi names for four new college dormitories completed in 1929. On request from Mr Ferguson Principal of Akropong Training college, Amu came out with a solfa and notation of street song “Yaa Amponsa” set to his own chaste words. His students enjoyed the new song, melody and new words. The street ballad Yaa Amponsa, popular with great appeal and appreciation.wp-1577717317363.jpgAmu learnt to speak correct Akuapem Twi from the members of his Akropong Church singing band who specialised in Amu’s type of African music during the period he led and taught the group. In 1927, inspired by the contents of Wasu, a journal published by the West African Students’ Union, Amu decided he would wear African dress with pride. So not to wear warm those unsuitable European clothes in the tropical Africa. He made efforts to make Christian church service meaningful to African worshippers who were ashamed of their African clothing, language, music or their African names. As part of his ingenuity and creativity Amu introduced bamboo odurogyaba, odurogya and atɛtɛnbɛn. In 1931 after Amu preached wearing African attire on Sunday, he was summoned to appear before the church court. Rev. Peter Hall told Amu, “We were taken aback to see you conduct a Sunday service in native cloth hope you will not do this again.” Amu in his polite manner took leave of the church session but decided in his heart to continue to work in the church as a catechist and music teacher than to become minister of the Gospel to accept wearing unsuitable European dress. In June 1942, Amu married Beatrice Yao and presented a wooden box made of the finest wood instead of an imported steel trunk to his bride. Dr Amu married at the age of 43 on 3 September 1942.wp-1577718179380.jpgDr Amu drove a truck almost similar to this with metal frames he drove around. On Saturday, 27 March 1965, University of Ghana conferred honorary degree of Doctor of Music on Ephraim Amu at University of Ghana, Legon. An Ephraim Amu Foundation was founded in 1995 launched in 2004 in his honour. Blessed to know Dr Ephraim Amu and visited his hometown to attend his son and his daughter in law friend whose wedding we attended. We knew Dr Ephraim Amu for five years in visits to his beautiful home. He is one of the great Pan African pioneers who did his part for Africa quietly in humility allowing his music and lifestyle to speak for itself. As the Ghanaians say, “a good quality product sells itself” without any attempt of spin doctor bulldozing inferior item sold. Dr Ephraim Amu did his best in life left his wonderful legacy of promoting African music, drum cultural values important to him. Dr Amu Day is celebrated as global icon ambassador of African costume culture, music, drums, organic agricultural production. He led by example, so extremely hardworking and it is a privilege to personally meet and know Dr Ephraim Amu’s works of music. He is acknowledged on currency of Ghana as a citizen who stood up for his country and traditions. Above all he loved God as a living testimony for all to see in humility to the Glory of God. Too young to fully understand or appreciate his Pan African cultural views, grateful and thankful for his life as Ho Technical college renamed after Dr Ephraim Amu.wp-1577727243415.jpgDr Amu’s music is underway by Galaxy Music imprint of ECS publishing Group, released three titles introducing non-Ghanaian choirs to his work to stir up interest in the wider corpus. A quarter of Dr Amu’s works is published in five collections out of print. Though some scores missing, autograph manuscripts fill most of void but are unpublishable. With his daughter Misonu Amu is being developed into a new edition of Amu’s scores through a process of comparing primary sources published and versions of audio recordings in consultation with Ghanaian members of team intimately familiar with Amu’s music performance practice. This new six-volume of critical performance edition will present works according to voicing. Thirty titles per volume organized as follows: 1-3) three volumes SATB scores, 4) A volume TTBB scores 5) Volume unison/duet/trio work 6) one volume instrumental pieces. Amu held students’ interest teaching simple African tunes and rhythms studied and adapted the popular traditional African dance, song. Amu also studied Western music and traditional African Music. He studied European Music: Bach, Mozart, Hadyn and other Masters. Amu before hid studies at the Royal College of Music London 1937 had a solid foundation in theory and practice of music. He studied harmony, counterpoint, orchestration, piano, composition of musician Herbert Howells and Gordon Jacob. Amu’s music studies in Europe prepared his musical career in Gold Coast, Ghana. wp-1577717343772.jpgDr Ephraim Kwaku from 1940, for fifty years led contemporary Ghanaian Art Music active musical life in Ghana. He established a Government Music School at Achimota and a Faculty member of University of Science and Technology, Kumasi. Established Music Department Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana at Legon as Senior Research Fellow from 1962-1971 then retired. Amu’s career created the National Orchestra of classical music in Ghana. The National Theatre, National Choir honoured Ephraim Amu, on his ninety- fifth birthday. Choir, conducted by Mrs. Dinah Reindorf performed the works by Amu. Amu’s music is classified into three distinct styles: Early period (1920-1937), middle period (1937-1951), third period (1952-1996). Early work is simple diatonic chords. Songs use duple, triple effect patterns: Biakoye (Unity), Israel Hene (King of Israel), Abibirimma (African Sons) Akwaabadwon (Welcome Song Hail Victors). Middle period works polyrhythmic polyphonic textures show fine music. Amu’s polyphonie textures in Ghanaian languages foundation for his works: Adawura Bome (Play for Me). Akyede Pa Mafo (Giver of Good Things). Amu’s works melo-rhythmic idiom of instrument music effective in writing songs vocals: Adawura Bome  (S.A.T.B.) (Play For Me) percussion rhythm gong and drum of sounds as kon kon kon and pete pete pete.’ Hyiawu hunters’ song. Alegbegbe…(God Loves World). Amu’s music preserves and reflects the linguo-musical dialect music to make culture relevant to Ghanaian music composed, collected and studied.wp-1577717343772.jpgDr Ephraim Kwaku 1958 plays bamboo flutes seprewa, atenteben, instruments developed so standardised. Akan drums atumpan and fontom in his works. His Agyinamoa Wou (demise of cat), scored to bamboo flute ensemble of Atenteben of piano. Amu provides the foundation for composers to contribute to growth sustains Ghanaian mix European music. Ethnomusicologists combine the strong academic interest in music styles. Amu’s vision influence composer’s integration of European African music element and relevant African ethnomusicology helps to understand his music distinguished by his career. Eweland music of Amu’s Asafo Ghanaian war set to Fante tunes of worship in church. Highlife popular West African music origin in Ghana use European- diatonic harmonics emphasis raised to the supertonic minor seventh, modulation dominant African rhythm. Percussive rhythm, parallel harmonics in thirds or sixths; melodic line pattern of texts, non-lexical syllables harmonic and rhythmic effects. ASεM YI DI KA Dr. E. Amu Art Music Ghanaian elements mix native with the European culture: Israel Hene (King of Israel) Odumayefo Ibrefo (Tiresome worker) Awurade Otumfo Kese (Our Great LORD) Onipa dawohoso (Be on guard) Yen Wura Jesu Anim Obi Nni Ho (None like Jesus) Wope Onyame Asenoa (To be like God) Akwaabadwon (Welcome victors) Hyiawu (Hunters’ song) Adawura borne (Play for me) Alegbegbe Mawu lɔ Xexeame (God loves world) Abibirimma (Sons of Africa) Tete Wobika  (proclaim) Nenyo De Wo Dede (Perfection) Mo koso So Mforo (Keep climbing) Onyame Ne Sahene (God Captains our host) Biakoye (Unity) Asafo (War music). Bonwere Kentenwene (Bonwere weave) Mawue Naa Me, Mawue Tea Me (God gives, God withholds) Akyede Pa Mafo (Giver of good things) Yen Ara Asase Ni (This is our land) Enne Ye Anigye Da (Its a joyful day) Ennye Yen Nyame (Not to us O LORD) Sam Befa (Collect what you left behind) Asem Yi Di Ka (Prime talk).wp-1577717410363.jpgUnited Nations must set 13th September Dr Amu International Pan African Day to be observed by the United Nations. It is important to designate specific day as occasion to mark events, topics in order to promote awareness and action of his objectives of the Organization. Member States propose observance and General Assembly to establish by resolution his contribution to music. Celebrations by specialized agencies of United Nations UNESCO, UNICEF, FAO this issues within their scope by the General Assembly.

Works by Ephraim Amu:

  • Amu, Ephraim. Twenty-five African Songs in the Twi Language. Music and words by E. Amu. Sheldon Press, 1932.
  • Amu, Ephraim. Amu choral works. Waterville Publishing House, 1993.
  • Amu, Ephraim. How to Study African Rhythm. The Teachers’ Journal (Accra) 6.2 (1933): 1933-34.

Works on Ephraim Amu 

  • Agawu, V. Kofi. The impact of language on musical composition in Ghana: An introduction to the music style of Ephraim Amu. Ethnomusicology (1984): 37-73.
  • Agawu, V. Kofi, and Ephraim Amu. “The making of a composer.” Black Perspective in Music (1987): 51-63.
  • Agyemang, Fred M. Amu the African: a study in vision and courage. Asempa Publishers, Christian Council of Ghana, 1988.
  • Amu, Misonu. Stylistic and Textual Sources of contemporary Ghanaian Art Music composer. A case study: Dr. Ephraim Amu.Unpublished M. Phil, thesis presented to the Institute of African Studies, Univ. of Ghana, Legon (1988).
  • Professor Kwesi Ampene, on Dr Amu, CU West African Music High Life International Studies Centre

wp-1577724778815.jpg

  • Atiemo, Abamfo Ofori Singing with understanding’: the story of gospel music in Ghana.” Studies in world Christianity 12.2 (2006): 142-163.
  • Beeko, Anthony Antwi. The Trail Blazers: Fruits of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, 1828-2003. Afram Publications Ghana Limited, 2004.
  • Dor, George. Uses of indigenous music genres in Ghanaian choral art music: Perspectives from the works of Amu, Blege and Dor. Ethnomusicology (2005): 441-475.
  • Flolu, James. “Music teacher education in Ghana: Training for the churches or schools?.” Sounds of Change–Social and Political Features of Music in Africa. Stockholm: SIDA (2004): 164-179.
  • Nketia, JH Kwabena. The Historical and Stylistic Background of the Music of Ephraim Amu. Ephraim Amu, Amu Choral Works 1 (1963).
  • Nketia, J. H. Modern trends, Ghana music. African Music (1957): 13-17.
  • Oehrle, Elizabeth. Emerging music education trends in Africa. The Int.  journal of music educ.1(1991)23-29
  • Turkson, A. R. “The Bi-musical approach of Ephraim Amu to music education in Ghana.” Eleventh International Research Seminar in Ghana. 1986.
  • promoted choral music in Ghana
  • Laryea, Philip T. Ephraim Amu: Nationalist, Poet and Theologian (1899-1995) (Foreword by Emeritus Professor J. H. K. Nketia), Akropong-Akuapem, Regnum  Africa, 2012
  • Professor Flolu, Emmanuel James (1994) Re-tuning music education in Ghana: a study of cultural influences and musical development, dilemma confronting Ghanaian school music teachers. PhD thesis, University of York.

Amu composed several musical pieces, briefly summed up among the others:

  1. “Fare thee well”
  2. “Mawɔ dɔ na Yesu”
  3. “Nkwagye Dwom”
  4. “Dwonto”
  5. “Yetu Osa”
  6. “Israel Hene”
  7. “Onipa da wo ho so”
  8. “Yaanom Abibirimma”
  9. “Yen Ara Asase Ni”
  10. “Adawura abo me”
  11. “Samansuo”
  12. “Ale-gbegbe”
  13. “Mia denyigba lɔ̃lɔ̃ la”

Dr Amu composed the next song below based on the traditional craft of Kente weaving of Ghanaian national costume. Vibrant colours of fabrics of the textiles is so bright and techniques of weaving sounds so rhythmic he composed next song. Kente is impressive but expensive was originally worn only by kings and queens for centuries. Made popular by leaders now available to all to wear on special occasions. In memory of Dr Amu Ghanaians wear cultural costumes on Fridays to work to celebrate their independence from colonialism. Still under economic yoke Dr Amu will not be amused would compose a new song.

Bonwire Kente Song:
Akyinkyinakyinkyin ama mahu nneɛma

Akyinkyinakyinkyin ama mahu nneɛma,
Akyinkyinakyinkyin ama mate nsɛmma,
Asante Bonwire Kente nwene deɛ,
Manhu bi da o,
Asante Bonwire Kente nwene deɛ,
Manhu bi da o,
Kwame nim adeɛ yɔ
Ne kente nwono na abɔ me gye
Ne nsa; ne nan, n’asadua saa nie:
Kro, kro, krohikro,
Hi, hi, hi, hi,
Krohikro hi krokrokro,
Hi, hi, hi, hi,
Krohikro,
Na ɛyɛ me dɛ o,
Na ɛyɛ me dɛ o,
Na abɔ me gye koraa,
Na ɛyɛ me dɛ o,
Na abɔ me gye koraa.
Roaming about has made me observe things,
Roaming about has made me hear of stories,
As for Asante Bonwire Kente weaving,
I’ve never seen some before
As for Asante Bonwire Kente weaving,
I’ve never seen some before
Kwame knows his craft His expert Kente weaving, amazes me.
His hands; his feet, the loom sound thus:
Kro, kro, krohikro,
Hi, hi, hi, hi,
Krohikro hi

YOUNG HELPING HOMELESS

wp-1577603600932.jpgAn 11 year old helped 20,000 homeless people by giving them “Blessing Bags.” In Chicago, IL Jahkil Jackson the 11-year old boy from Chicago already helped over 20,000 homeless people in his city by giving away ‘Blessing Bags’ through his organization Project I Am. At young age of 8, started helping people through small ways and he is up for bigger goals as he grows older. “Seeing people on the street made me really sad and I thought everybody had homes,” Jackson told Today. Jackson was 5-years old when he first saw a homeless person. Since then, he asked his mother if they could buy houses for all homeless people. It seems a far-fetched idea a young child, made efforts to help through his organization Project I Am established when he was 8-years old. He gives toiletries, food, and water stuffed in what he called ‘Blessing Bags’ to homeless people in Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Idaho and Virginia. His efforts are not limited nationally he helps internationally like orphans in Mbabane, Swaziland, volcano victims in Guatemala, hurricane survivors in Florida, Houston and Puerto Rico. “Giving bags to people makes me feel like getting step closer to demolishing the whole homeless thing… it makes me happy to see the smiles on their faces,” Jackson said. Jackson, who was named Youth Ambassador for one of a world’s anti-poverty organizations Heartland Alliance International in 2016, has been acknowledged by the former President Barack Obama of three most influential people of 2017. “To know someone like him knows my name, supports what I do encourages me to keep doing every day,” he said in interview with Forbes. Basketball superstar LeBron James recognized him helps promote Project I Am. Jackson, who loves basketball as a fan and a player, dreams of having his NBA team one day. Jackson help the less-fortunate people in any way he can. “There’s way more homeless people in the world I can help, that I need to help.”wp-1577608273851.jpgIn Birmingham, AL Ethan Hill, a 9-year old boy from Alabama, is applauded for his efforts of giving back to community by helping the homeless. He purchased 100 sleeping bags and food for homeless in Birmingham. For two years Ethan has been helping homeless in every holiday season by giving sleeping bags and care packages. In third year doing so, Ethan is trying to make sure he gets to help more homeless people set goal buying 100 $10 sleeping bags. Ethan and family fundraising campaign on Facebook is to raise funds for the homeless raised over $6,500. His advocacy caught attention of City of Birmingham and Mayor Randall Woodfin, who described his efforts as “servant leadership at its finest,” wrote on Twitter. Academy Sports, Outdoors reached out to Ethan and offered him a $1,000 shopping spree to contribute to his initiative. The store opened early to accommodate Ethan purchases sleeping bags, gloves, cold weather socks, hand warmers, meal assortment buckets, and more for the homeless people. What a great example these two young boys are to encourage all to show compassion to the homeless. A veteran soldier became homeless after injuring his back. He had a pregnant  wife at home and medical bills unpaid. Yet when he found wallet full.of cash run after the owner to give it back.  When asked why, he said its the right thing to do it did not belong to him so there are honest poor people in this world. He was rewarded for his honesty but spent the money for food shared with the other homeless people around him. The wallet owner saw his action so gave him more insisting that he keeps it for himself and his family. Jesus said by giving to the least into give to Him. wp-1577616455517.jpgGod says kindness to the poor touches HIM to heal. Children are given boxes to save to give to the poor. And pray daily three times if they “neglect the poor in society God must curse them.” I was surprised at their prayer but they practice what they teach. Is example to others to learn from them. So never underestimate the homeless if you talk to them you realise they were once successful people. Some in high positions of society they owned homes, raised family but due to health issues or divorce end up homeless. The word of God says a nation is judged by how they treat the poor in society. There are negative stereotype images of what a homeless person is. Mother Theresa said poor people are the most kindest they share the little they have. Another  Maryland boy hands out ‘Hero Boxes’ to homeless vets for Thanksgiving Day and others on Christmas day too numerous to include all in this post. An eight-year-old boy from Maryland gave back this Thanksgiving by providing homeless veterans with ‘Hero Bags’ filled with warm clothes and hygiene products. On Tuesday, Tyler Shillings and his mother, Andrea Blackstone, gave out 65 of the bags to needy men and women who served. Giving is not just about money, a smile, talking to homeless treating them with dignity rather than as scum of the earth makes God very happy because all people are HIS creation and HE loves them all too. God provides more than enough resources for all and all to be like little children  to enter the Kingdom of God in Jesus Name. Some received by Christ for such godly deeds they did not realise God notices so keeps records of. Bedford teenager foregoes birthday gifts to help food banKatya Barwood with donated foodKatya Barwood 13, chose items nappies, tin openers, toiletries and washing-up liquid. The 13-year-old girl asked for charity donations instead of birthday presents handed over groceries worth of £500 to a food bank. Katya Barwood, of Bedford, wanted to help those less fortunate than her. “I got way more joy giving them the food rather than having presents all to myself,” she said. Bedford Foodbank manager Sarah Broughton said Katya’s donation was “unusual” and described her as an “amazing and incredible young lady.Isaac and Katya donating foodKatya went with her brother Isaac to personally donate the food. Katya said she got the idea after visiting food bank with her Scout group. Used donations to pay for large online supermarket order. A lot of people need help but the charity can’t help all, so I thought instead of me having a birthday that was all about me, I could do something to help them,” she said. I’m probably a lot more fortunate than they are and they deserve to have this so I put them before me. Her father Tom Barwood, said: “She is a very single-minded and motivated girl and when she gets an idea, off she goes.”Katya Barwood with donated foodTwo full car loads of items were taken to Bedford Foodbank. Ms Broughton said Katya’s donation weighed about 260kg (41st) would make 108 meals. The charity is currently feeding about 650 people a month, and last academic year fed 7,433, she said. After her father praised her endeavours on Facebook page We Are Bedford, Carly Kaczorowski, who has used a foodbank, said: “What an amazing young lady you have raised. “Too many children nowadays only think of themselves and or material items. She is a credit to you.”

Bedford teenager foregoes birthday gifts to help food bank

HAPPY CHRISTMAS LESSONS

wp-1577100682177.jpgChristmas can be truly happy if lessons learnt are applied to make it easy on all members of the family for the sake of Christ Jesus. Even enemies in combat at Christmas put down guns to celebrate Christmas together and exchange gifts. German soldiers joined British troops in frontline battle a 100 years ago to eat together at Christmas. Eve inter-sibling skirmish to reverting to your teenage self and scrapping over the TV remote on Christmas Day, the annual festivities can put family relationships on edge. So, when weather outside is frightful, how do you keep home life delightful to stop Christmas celebration turning sour?

1. Ease Christmas crushGrandfather and kids open presents

Going home for Christmas is great – but when you get there, will you be sleeping in your old teenage bedroom – maybe along with your partner and kids? “Even if we’re busy at work or at home, we have time alone don’t we?” says Relate counsellor Dee Holmes. But at Christmas people are often “forced too much into each other’s space. If you’ve got houseful of relatives, there’s always something to be done or someone who wants to talk to you.

Two young women looking cross

Christmas Eve inter-sibling skirmish to reverting “Children are used to having time when their parents ignore them, in front of the telly… and: ‘Aunty Freda’s here, let’s play a game…'” So appreciate that your nearest and dearest may need some space and having a happy family Christmas doesn’t mean you all want to be together 24/7. Instead of expecting everyone to join in every moment of Christmas Day, maybe agree some key times, like opening presents and Christmas lunch, but otherwise be flexible, she suggests.

2. Don’t be kitchen freakYoung women eating near sink

Let’s face it, Christmas catering is really hard work. And even if you prepare as much as you can in advance, timing a roast to perfection is a fine art – and if it goes wrong, can result in overcooked veg, cold turkey – and a large helping of stress. So if you’re the designated cook, don’t be afraid to ask for help, says Dee.

“Make sure there’s a bit of a rota about people all helping and everyone mucking in.” It’s important everyone has some downtime – including the cook, she says. And if cooking at home is just too much of a stress point, Kim Moore, a mental-health expert at Birmingham City University, advocates considering going out to eat.

3. Whose Christmas Is It?Baby in front of Christmas lights

“There’s the child-centred Christmas and there’s the adult-centred Christmas -and sometimes, in family environment, they clash,” says Dee. The danger points abound where different generations are forced into close proximity, she warns – from sleepy teens woken before it gets light by their over-excited younger cousins or people without children annoyed if they have to open all the presents before breakfast, to the adults who are drunk before it gets dark and argue heatedly about politics.

“Another big thing is how people revert to their traditional roles in the family when they all get back together,” Dee says. “So you know you live the rest of the year being a successful professional person or you’re doing your own thing and as soon as you get home, you’re the youngest one or the naughty one.” This sort of stereotyping is a big cause of Christmas rows, says Dee, who urges family members to cultivate tolerance, empathy and “a bit of sensitivity to other people’s expectations”.

4. A Christmas truce

Agreeing ground rules on subjects to avoid over Christmas can be a really good idea, says senior mental-health nursing lecturer Kim. In addition it’s wise to try to resolve in advance any outstanding issues between family members which could lead to rows on the day, she advises. “Try just to be respectful of the other people,” adds Dee. “And if you want to have argument with someone, is today really the day? “If someone said something that annoys you, maybe you say, ‘I’m just going to ignore that for now.'”

5. Remote & technologyClose-up remote control

Remember the days when there was one TV in the corner of the sitting room and rows over channel choice? The good news is that those days are long gone and everyone with a phone can potentially choose when and how to watch whatever they like. So traditional arguments over who controls remote less problematical, says Dee. She warns adults who want to recapture possibly  past family Christmases, everyone sat down to watch Doctor Who together, are unlikely to succeed. And then there’s the problem of prising teens away from their phones. “If you spend all year with your teenagers in their bedrooms… don’t have unrealistic expectations of family life being suddenly different because you wake up and it’s Christmas morning,” warns Dee. “Don’t expect a miracle.”

6. Christmas karaoke?Family playing a game

Music is one of great way of bringing families together and making everyone feel better, says Kim. Karaoke or just pass the parcel to Christmas songs can be “a great way to engage all family members from young to old” create some fantastic memories, she says. Alternatively, you might prefer charades or board games – but beware the Christmas scrabble row. Some families choose to go for walks on Christmas or Boxing Day but Dee says a relaxed family Christmas often depends on not expecting everyone to join in with everything. “Just because you have a ritual and you’ve always gone on a walk after the Queen’s speech doesn’t mean you always have to keep doing it.”

7. The spending trap

The urge to overspend at Christmas can be enormous, with families targeted by massive marketing campaigns months ahead. January is a tough month, too often made worse by credit card bills and overdrafts, so managing spending and expectation in the run-up to Christmas is key, says Dee. “I think it’s important to talk about what the limitations are, what the budgets are.” More and more families are choosing to discuss Christmas gift budgets with their children, she says, even when they’re quite young. “It’s not about saying we can’t afford it… or making them scared that you’ve no money, or anything like that, but being realistic.” And try to make gifts “fair”, she says. “Children will soon pick up if they feel there’s an unfairness.”

8. Stay safe

Christmas is meant to be a fun time so it is particularly tough when it goes wrong, throwing family problems into stark focus. People contact Relate for relationship counselling most in the weeks after Christmas than at any other time of year, says Dee. If disagreements spill into violence, Kim says not to be afraid to ask for help, even if this means calling the police. And if you fear for your safety, organisations such as Women’s Aid andMen’s Advice Line also offer advice.

9. Dry January: start earlyChristmas drink

If you’re worried about fuelling family rows over the festive season, why wait until January to go teetotal?

“The use and overuse of alcohol can be a major trigger of family discontent over Christmas,” Kim warns. Dee adds that the best-laid plans and intentions can all too easily be forgotten when you’ve had a few – tolerance and sensitivity can go out of the window and it’s all too easy to say the wrong thing, with minor disagreements becoming full-blown family bust-ups.

“I have certainly heard some horror stories,” she says. Dee says it’s really important to make sure drinkers have plenty to eat – and rather than banning booze altogether, she suggests spritzing wine and making bucks fizz with your champagne or prosecco, with plenty of suggestions available online for non-alcoholic festive drinks to lightly enhance feelings of goodwill to all – even your siblings.

Nine lessons for a happy family Christmas

Share this with Email Share this with Facebook Share this with Twitter Share this with Whatsapp

CHRISTMAS KINDNESS HELPS

Mo Fayose with a Christmas tree
Image captionMo Fayose is on a mission to stop people feeling lonely at Christmas

A woman has written and hand-delivered 1,900 Christmas cards to strangers in an effort to combat loneliness.

Mo Fayose, from Nottingham, spent months staying up late into the night writing the cards and then trekking the streets to deliver them.

The 45-year-old said she wanted to reach out to the vulnerable.

Every card was delivered with chocolates and an invitation to dinner on Christmas Day, hosted by a team of volunteers.

A pile of Christmas cardsImage copyrightMO FAYOSE
Image captionEach handwritten card included chocolate and an invitation to a Christmas dinner hosted by volunteers

“There’s an atmosphere about Christmas that makes it very, very depressing for many, many people – being given something, being remembered, makes a lot of difference,” she said.

She said she was “gutted” when she ran out of cards last week.

“I had reached number 35 on a street… but it had another 30 houses. Maybe there’s someone in need?

“Next year I’m going to make even more and start again, where I finished.”

A card with a bowImage copyrightMO FAYOSE
Image captionMiss Fayose encouraged other people to do the same

She bought the cards in bulk after Christmas last year to keep down costs but said she lost count of how much she spent, with the total somewhere “in the hundreds”.

“Someone came out and said thank you, and I could see on their face it meant something to them,” she said.

“It’s all about love. If you can give that back, that little gesture means everything.”

The mum-of-two, who runs the Community Cares Club, came up with the idea while working as a mental health nurse when a woman told her how isolated she had become.

“She said, ‘can you imagine, no-one even sends me Christmas cards’. That hit something inside me, it hurt me.”

People enjoying Christmas dinner hosted by Mo FayoseImage copyrightMO FAYOSE
Image captionAs well as hosting an annual Christmas dinner, this year Mo and her team will be delivering meals to people who cannot leave their house
Follow BBC East Midlands on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram. Send your story ideas to eastmidsnews@bbc.co.uk.

JESUS UNITES ALL IN ISRAEL

90500fe1f11caa60e2a3d9081508b74c--christian-encouragement-bible-verses.jpg
Galatians 3:26-28 says not a Jew, Gentile, Greek, SLAVE, free, MALE, FEMALE ALL ARE ONE IN CHRIST JESUS. In the Bible Jesus Christ of Nazareth came to SAVE to redeem ALL FAMILIES in Christ. God created all black and white people equal in God’s Kingdom, no rank, class, status. SOVEREIGN GOD JEHOVAH and CHRIST JESUS are Ultimate Authority all submit to in ETERNAL LIFE. So Matthew 22:30 says after resurrection people DO NOT MARRY so no virgins to marry. Glorified body is like angels in heaven in eternal life so no need to marry, to give birth to replenish earth in future. All restored to youthful bodies, healed, live perfectly healthy lives eternally. Love is directed totally first to God and to Jesus Christ flowing through all people. There is no need to seek fulfilment through a human being because all are fulfilled in Christ Jesus. The supernatural love God fills mankind with is superior to human love. All LOVE comes from God through Jesus the Bridegroom, enriched deeply in Christ Jesus Alone in eternal life. So human romance pales in comparison to GOD’S DEEPEST LOVE BEYOND human understanding in terms of earthly love. Earthly love is full of disappointment, pain, hurt and grief. A Heavenly LOVE yet fully experienced on earth glimpses of true love found here, there on earth.4bdde64e26478018c275ab2ae84328d6.jpgPERFECT LOVE after GLORIOUS BODY IS FOUND IN CHRIST so no human can provide angelic love for glorified body higher being in Christ Jesus. ETERNAL LIFE IN GOD’S PRESENCE is NO HATRED VENGEANCE, Bitterness or vendetta for only the PURE IN HEART FULL OF LOVE ENTER GOD’S PRESENCE. GOD IS LOVE in heaven no evil on earth exists after judgement BY JEHOVAH. Only the sheep enter heaven and goats are thrown out into hellfire burning forever. A banquet by KING MASTER JESUS for all no slaves IN HEAVEN. Emancipate yourself from the arrogant mental slavery justifying abuse of people in THE NAME of God. Vengeance belongs to Jehovah to meet out so stop misleading the people with twisted lies misquoting Bible to deceive naive vulnerable people. Only Jesus is able to Comfort us and restore PERFECT PEACE we crave because human love is limited. Be content, so grateful, thankful for families you feel not good for you. It is God who puts people in families for a reason. Trust God with your family and AVOID ANYONE WHO DIVIDES FAMILY! 29131.jpgJesus the Messiah is surrounded by His mother, father siblings in His Ministry on earth and in heaven with Jesus. Any Church that divides family is a cult for manipulation naive members to control them by CUTTING OFF from loved ones who SEE THROUGH FAKE PASTORS. The fake pastor deceives people for control weakens them without back up support challenging controlling behaviour. They fear families standing up to stop abuse so anyone who knows the Bible well or confronts them is blackmailed and also vilified to subdue members. They make examples of people to humiliate them to put fear in them to become ZOMBIES or robots they control. Beware of anyone twisting BIBLE to CONTROL your life because who the SON JESUS SETS FREE IS FREE INDEED!!! God is LOVE and by love people know you are the children of God.  Jesus LOVE YOUR ENEMIES do good to those who hate you and do not inherit enmity and hatred from a bitter miserable people preaching evil hatred.  God’s promise to Abraham the land of Israel is a BLESSING to ALL NATIONS.Galatians_3-28.jpgIn Genesis 12:2; 18:18; 22:17–18; 26:3–4 God fulfilled promise to Abraham, first in the nation of Israel then all nations. Israel’s technological, agricultural, and medical innovations, advances help all people in the world. God’s greatest meaningful fulfillment of covenant promise is Word of God Jewish people gave all world. God faithfully protects and brought Israel’s eternal salvation through faith in Jesus the Messiah. So Father God in Lord Jesus Messiah by His great mercy Christians born agains are raised the Messiah from dead. To live in future is a great expectation of priceless inheritance in heaven, pure, undefiled, beyond death and decay. Through faith, God protects by HIS power to endure to end, receive crown of life 1 Peter 1:3–5.  God’s destiny for Abraham to become the father of MULTITUDE of NATIONS includes Gentile nations fulfilled in Jesus, a direct descendant of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob Israel in Matthew 1:2–17.  God LOVES people of all tribes, tongues, nationalities, languages in Jesus as heirs of Abraham and joint heir with Christ.

imageGod’s joint heirs are kings and priests of God in Christ Jesus. There is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; you are ALL ONE IN MESSIAH YESHUA. In MESSIAH you are Abraham’s seed heirs according to promise in Galatians 3:2729. Today know Jesus better by READING BIBLE to STUDY LIKE BEREANS not just do what so called fake control freak cult pastors order you to do to manipulate your life. Messiah Jesus is coming to decide your reward based on if you are HIS SHEEP. Not what the fake prophet misquoted in Bible designed to lie to you because you lack knowledge. God says  MY PEOPLE are destroyed for lack of knowledge of Bible. God says Study to show yourself APPROVED TO GOD not show off Bible verses you memorized. But APPLY the Bible to each need you have, read the specific TEXT daily to meet your need.Galatians+3_26-28.jpgEach one faces God alone on judgement day so remember God will not ask about what the pastor told you. God demands account of your PERSONAL LIFE not the total social media number of followers, bank accounts, mansions, private jets, size of your family, your status, class, colour or race. Each person must share Gospel to DIRECT PEOPLE TO GOD IN CHRIST. The Church you attend or the denomination  is IRRELEVANT TO GOD. Letter to seven Churches in Bible warns Churches. Israel and Jewish people are ONE IN CHRIST JESUS to fulfill all God’s feasts, prophecies covenant promises.  Isaiah 27:6 says, God will cause them that come of Jacob to take root Israel shall blossom and bud to fill the face of the world with fruit. The people of Israel return from parts of the world  their ancestors dispersed take root. The land is blessed and people blessed in the world. Israel’s desert desolate is a major exporter of food to the world. The crops are major export by companies in Israel Isaiah predicted. Isaiah predicted in the Word of God over 2,600 years ago fruit of the land blessing Earth with physical food exported and fruits of God’s Word confirms by Holy Spirit in Christ Jesus. Matthew+1-22+To+Fulfill+What+Was+Spokne+By+The+Lord+Through+Prophets+red.jpg Zechariah says all nations on earth will come yearly to Israel to celebrate Feast of Tabernacles to worship LORD of Hosts. Zechariah 14:16. Isaiah points to road connecting Egypt to Assyria and through this area access road is being built called King’s Highway. Building a super highways links them with all the surrounding nations. These prophesies of Isaiah and Zechariah prepares way in advance in time for Messiah’s rule from His Throne in Israel. Jesus Rules whole Earth and all people will know God in the millennial kingdom in Israel after rapture and His second coming on earth after Armageddon. The land is prepared today to fulfil prophecy of Messiah Jesus as KING of Kings and Lord of lords. And above all countless multitudes of people of all nations, tribes, languages, colours, BELONGS TOGETHER IN HEAVEN AND LATER DWELL ON EARTH WITH GOD. God is not a respecter of persons to put any person above others by class, race, colour, wealth or status. Death is their leveller making all equal before God. No man is bigger or stronger than Jehovah God no matter how powerful they may feel in own eyes to inflate their ego.