Many people start out the year promising to do this or that, change this or that, break a bad habit, or start a new one. Sometimes it works; often it doesn't. Why is that?

      A man once owned an eagle, and for many years kept him chained to a stake. Every day the eagle walked around and around that stake, and over time wore a rut in the ground. When the eagle was getting old, his master felt sorry for him and decided to set him free. So he took the metal ring off the eagle's foot, lifted the eagle from the ground, and tossed him into the air. He was free-but he had forgotten how to fly! He flip-flopped to the ground, walked back over to his old rut, and started walking in circles like he had for years. No chain and shackle held him, just the habit!

      There is a saying: "The chains of bad habits are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken," and that would be true if it weren't for the Lord and His power.

      Ask Him to help you overcome a vice, bad habit, or weakness, and you will see results. He said, "He that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37KJV), and "whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive" (Matthew 21:22NKJ). You may have to put a great deal of your own will to the transformation process as well, but with God's strength and His intervention, you'll find you have more resolve, determination, and ability to change than you ever thought possible.

+ + +

      It's not possible for you to change yourself, but it's possible for God to change you by the miracle-working power of His Spirit. He'll do things you can't do!

      This is what it means to "become a new creature in Christ Jesus" (2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV). (A modern translation, the Living Bible, says, "When someone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand new person inside. He is not the same anymore. A new life has begun!") Jesus coming into your life not only renews and purifies and regenerates your spirit, but it also renews your mind, literally breaking old connections and reflexes and gradually rebuilding it and rewiring it into a whole new computer system with a different outlook on life and a new way of looking at the world, with new reactions to nearly everything around you.

      But it's impossible for you to make this change yourself. If you want this change, it's necessary for you to ask Jesus to help. Some changes are instantaneous, others take awhile.--But if you ask Him for help and do your part, you'll be changed, because Jesus changes people!-David Brandt Berg

What shall I wish you?
Treasures of earth?
Songs in the springtime?
Pleasures and mirth?
Flowers on your pathway,
Skies ever clear?
Would this ensure you
A happy new year?

What shall I wish you?
What can be found
Bringing you sunshine
All the year round?
Where is the treasure,
Lasting and dear,
That shall ensure you
A happy new year?

Faith that increases,
Walking in light;
Hope that's abounding,
Happy and bright;
Love that is perfect,
Casting out fear;
These shall ensure you
A happy new year.

Peace in the Savior,
Rest at His feet,
Smile of His countenance
Radiant and sweet.
Joy in His presence!
Christ ever near!
This will ensure you
A happy new year!
     --Francis Ridley Havergal, adapted



Newspaper: Obama is, of course, greater than Creator God

Publication deifies American president, dismisses Christ

By Bob Unruh

December 29, 2009

This messianic image of Obama was highlighted by ABC's Jake TapperAn editorial in a Danish newspaper, citing both foreign and domestic policies pursued by President Barack Obama, is deifying the American political leader.

"Obama is, of course, greater than Jesus - if we have to play that absurd Christmas game," opined the unsigned editorial yesterday in Politiken, which boasts of being Denmark's largest newspaper, in publication since 1884.

The English translation is provided online by Julian Isherwood.

It continued, "But it is probably more meaningful to insist that with today's domestic triumph, that he has already assured himself a place in the history books - a space he has good chances of expanding considerably in coming years."

The newspaper says Obama "is provocative in insisting on an outstretched hand, where others only see animosity."

And while "his tangible results in the short time that he has been active - are few and far between," his words "remain in the consciousness of their audience and have long-term effects."

"He comes from humble beginnings and defends the weak and vulnerable, because he can identify himself with their conditions," the newspaper said. "And no we are not thinking of Jesus Christ, whose birthday has just been celebrated - but rather the President of the United States Barack Hussein Obama."

Here comes the (narcissist in) chief: Explore what makes 'the One' and only Barack Obama tick

The editorial noted that "the idea was naturally that the comparison between Jesus and Obama" would be made. "If such a comparison were to be made, it would, of course, inevitably be to Obama's advantage."

The editorial, written on the occasion of a legislative vote in favor of Obama's plan for a health care takeover by the government, cited "the right of every American not to be financially shipwrecked when their health fails" as well as the "biggest ever financial support package in America's history, a major disarmament agreement and the quickest-ever re-establishment of American reputation."

"On the other hand, we have Jesus' miracles that everyone still remembers, but which only benefitted a few. At the same time, we have the wonderful parables about his life and deeds that we know from the New Testament, but which have been interpreted so differently over the past 2000 years that it is impossible to give an unequivocal result of his work," the newspaper said.

"Well we all knew that this day would come," wrote Jeremy Wiggins on the American Family Association blogs.

"We knew that someone on the left side of the political spectrum would ultimately try to compare Barack Obama to Jesus," he wrote.

"What I want to know is this: How is any comparison made between a person who has done NOTHING and someone who has done EVERYTHING? President Obama has bowed before kings, but Jesus will have kings bowing before Him, because HE is THE King of Kings. I guess the closest comparison I could come up with would be comparing Obama to Jesus is like comparing an ant to a skyscraper, not only is one VASTLY greater than the other, but they are not even in the same category to compare!" he wrote.

WND has reported on the multiple references and suggestions of Obama's diety, including when British recording artist Sting said President Obama could be the answer to the world's problems - the divine answer.

"In many ways, he's sent from God, because the world's a mess," he said in interview with the Associated Press as the time.

"The Truth" by Michael D'AntuonoEarlier, it was an associate editor at a college newspaper who wrote, "Obama is my Jesus."

Maggie Mertens, the associate editor at the campus paper at Massachusetts' Smith College, said, "Obama is my homeboy. And I'm not saying that because he's black - I'm saying that in reference to those Urban Outfitters T-shirts from a couple years ago that said, 'Jesus is my homeboy.' Yes, I just said it. Obama is my Jesus."

Her confession came in the Smithsophian's commentary section recently under the headline: "I Will Follow Him: Obama As My Personal Jesus."

"While you may be overtly religious and find this to be idol-worshipping, or may be overtly politically correct and just know that everything in that sentence could be found offensive, I'm afraid it's true anyway," she wrote.

Also, an artist who planned to unveil a portrait of Obama in a Christ-like pose with a crown of thorns upon his brow canceled the event due to "overwhelming public outrage."

And it was Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan who declared last year that when Obama talks, "the Messiah is absolutely speaking."

There also was the development during Obama's campaign when a website called "Is Barack Obama the Messiah?" captured the wave of euphoria that followed the Democratic senator's remarkable rise.

The site was topped by an Obama quote strategically ripped from a Jan. 7, 2008, speech at Dartmouth College just before the New Hampshire Primary in which he told students, "A light will shine through that window, a beam of light will come down upon you, you will experience an epiphany, and you will suddenly realize that you must go to the polls and vote" for Obama.

The site includes this:





Breaking Point - Top Trends

By Gerald Celente


KINGSTON, NY -The first decade of the 21st century is going out the way it came in with a bust and a bang.

The Great Recession is not over. There is no recovery. It's a cover up. Expect another wave of terrorism. Possibly of 9/11 magnitude.

As well as challenges, also expect profitable and transformational social, health, environmental, entertainment, cultural, business and consumer trends to emerge in 2010.

· The Crash of 2010: The Bailout Bubble is about to burst. Be prepared for the onset of the Greatest Depression.

· Depression Uplift: The pursuit of elegance and affordable sophistication will raise spirits and profits.

· Terrorism 2010: Years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq- and now Pakistan-have intensified anti-American sentiment. 2010 will be the year of the lone-wolf, self-radicalized gunman.

· Neo-Survivalism: A new breed of survivalist is devising ingenious stratagems to beat the crumbling system. And, they're not all heading for the hills with AK-47's and pork & beans.

· Not Welcome Here: Fueled by fear and resentment, a global anti-immigration trend will gather force and serve as a major plank in building a new political party in the US.

· TB or Not TB: With two-thirds of Americans Too Big (TB) for their own good (and everyone else's), 2010 will mark the outbreak of a "War on Fat," providing a ton of business opportunities.

· Mothers of Invention: Taking off with the speed of the Internet revolution, "Technology for the Poor" will be a major trend in 2010, providing products and services for newly downscaled Western consumers and impoverished consumers everywhere.

· Not Made In China: A "Buy Local," "My Country First" protectionist backlash will deliver a big "No" to unrestrained globalism and open solid niches for local and domestic manufacturers.

· The Next Big Thing: Just as the traditional print media (newspapers/magazines) were scooped by Internet competition, so too will new communication technologies herald the end of the TV networks as we know them.

The Trends Research Institute has a 30-year unparalleled track record of accurate forecasts.



Large Hadron Collider failure will leave science back in the 'wilderness'

Science will be left back in a "nightmarish wilderness" if the Large Hadron Collider fails to find the elusive Higgs Boson, warns a rebel physicist.

By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent -

26 Dec 2009

Particle tracks of protons collided in CERN's Large Hadron Collider Photo: AP

Former Harvard research scholar, professor Shahriar Afshar said that failure to find the particle would bring current scientific theory tumbling down like a house of cards with nothing to replace it.

The controversial physicist, whose Afshar experiment has already found a loophole in quantum theory, said that unless the scientific community starts contemplating a "plan B", failure could lead to "chaos and infighting".

He said failure will undermine more than a hundred years of scientific theory and undermine some of the mainstays of scientific thinking, the Standard Model, a general theory of how particles fit together to create matter.

It would also lead to bitter recriminations and infighting among the different scientists and a complete loss of confidence among the general public and taxpayer, he said.

"Everybody is in a festive mood," said Professor Afshar who is now a research professor at Rowan University in New Jersey.

"Champagne corks are ready to get popped but what is going to happen if nothing happens?

"There will be an all-out war among physicists. It will be a nightmarish situation that will put physics back into the wilderness.

"We need to have a plan B. We need to get people together before it is too late to make contingency plans."

Professor Afshar said that it will be two or three years before the huge machine in Switzerland that cost £4billion to build can be judged as a success or a failure.

But he believes that the hype surrounding the particle accelerator has meant that if it fails to establish anything - a strong possibility in his eyes - it will lead to disillusionment with science.

"It is not that I have an axe to grind against the LHC," he said.

"I am just tremendously worried about what wil happen if we don't find the Higgs Boson. We have spent £10bn (£6.3bn) to ensure that we find the existence of this particle.

"If by the end of this process - say two or three years - we don't find it. There will be infighting, recriminations.

"I am not saying I am right and everybody is wrong. I am saying let us be prepared for the experiment to be a failure. Let us be prepared for it to go wrong.

"We need to start having discussions about what are the alternatives. Because if the LHC fails, then the Standard Model fails. If the Standard Model fails we have nothing left.

"We are putting all our eggs in one basket. We need to prepare ourselves for this possibility and not in a state of panic."

- ***

Czech President Klaus: Global Warming Not Science, but a 'New Religion'

By Gene Koprowski

As the Copenhagen Climate conference comes to a conclusion amidst riots by demonstrators and scrambling by policymakers, Czech President Vaclav Klaus has a message for the world: Global warming is a "new religion," not a science.

In an interview with, Czech Republic president Vaclav Klaus argued that man's natural ingenuity will lead to new technologies that will lessen any impact mankind has had on the planet's environment.

As the Copenhagen climate conference drew to a close Friday, Czech President Vaclav Klaus, long a global warming skeptic, had a message for the world: do not dictate to humanity how to live based on an "irrational ideology," which he sees as the product of political correctness.

Global warming is a "new religion," not a science, he said in an interview with

"I'm convinced that after years of studying the phenomenon, global warming is not the real issue of temperature," said Klaus, an economist by training. "That is the issue of a new ideology or a new religion. A religion of climate change or a religion of global warming. This is a religion which tells us that the people are responsible for the current, very small increase in temperatures. And they should be punished."

Klaus, the second president of the Czech Republic since the fall of communism, is often called the Margaret Thatcher of Central Europe. In the interview, he sounded more like Winston Churchill, vowing to defend liberty and freedom from those who would restrain global economic growth.

"I'm absolutely convinced that the very small global warming we are experiencing is the result of natural causes," Klaus told "It's a cyclical phenomenon in the history of the Earth. The role of man is very small, almost negligible."

Klaus believes man's natural ingenuity can create new technologies that will lessen any impact that mankind has had on the planet's environment. "I don't think the radical measures just now suggested in Copenhagen are necessary," said Klaus.

"Politicians and their fellow travelers, the media and the business community, simply understood that this is a very good topic to take on. It's an excellent idea to escape from the current reality. Not to solve the crisis, but to talk about the world in 2050, 2080, 2200. This is for them an excellent job.

They will not be punished by the voters for making a totally wrong decision, a wrong forecast."

Klaus says that many interested parties get "a lot of money and influence" by backing the idea of global warming and organizing the Copenhagen conference, as well as its predecessor the Kyoto conference. "Some of them are really just rent seekers who hope to get some money either for their businesses or for their countries," says Klaus. "Some of them are really true believers."

The president reckons that environmentalism, executed on the scale suggested by global warming adherents, is a "real way to stop progress, industrial progress...and this is something unfair."

Klaus fears that turning global warming into binding law would impede civilization as we know it.

"We'll be the victims of irrational ideology. They will try to dictate to us how to live, what to do, how to behave," Klaus said. "What to eat, travel, and what my children should have. This is something that we who lived in the communist era for most of our lives -- we still feel very strongly about. We are very sensitive in this respect. And we feel various similarities in their way of arguing or not arguing. In the way of pushing ahead ideas regardless of rational counter-arguments."

Klaus thinks that the world's "silent majority" would agree with his position on global warming. "I'm so sorry that Al Gore and others around the IPCC succeeded in influencing so many people," he said.

Klaus, who graduated from the University of Economics in Prague, and also studied in the U.S. at Cornell University, worked in banking during the communist era. He was also an outspoken reformer during the "Prague Spring" in the late 1960s, a cultural revolt against totalitarian ideology.

Klaus was previously prime minister of his country, has received more than 50 honorary degrees and is colloquially known as "Mr. Professor" by his countrymen.

He worries that schoolchildren around the world are being fed global warming ideology, and that this will give the ideology more power in the future.

"We need to bring new arguments. The real problem isn't the arguments. The real problem is to motivate people to listen to other arguments against this. This is the missing link in the current debate."

Klaus says that he is in favor of "green" technology, but cautions that he is not in favor of the government dictating the development of the technology.

"I lived in a communist world where politicians told us what to do," Klaus said. "I don't think politicians or presidents should suggest to firms what to do. That has always been a mistake."



Shocker! Detroit unemployment approaching 50%

Workers who have abandoned job search not included in official count


Posted: December 21, 2009

The mayor of Detroit, Mich., has hit the nation with an unemployment shocker.

Despite an official rate of 27 percent, the city's actual unemployment rate is closer to 50 percent, according to Detroit Mayor Dave Bing.

He said the higher rate is more accurate after taking into account those who have given up finding a job and those working fewer hours than they want, Jerome Corsi's Red Alert reports.

The news comes after a recent Red Alert report indicating that many of America's inner cities, including Detroit, have become "dead zones" of predominately Democratic-voting African-American ghettos of poverty.

"It's a reality that has become politically incorrect to discuss in an era where President Obama occupies the White House and the Democratic Party controls Congress," Corsi wrote.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that for the year ending in September, Michigan's official unemployment rate was 12.6 percent, according to the Detroit News.

Yet, using the broadest definition of unemployment, the state's unemployment was 20.9 percent, or 66 percent higher than the official rate.

The unemployment situation is particularly severe in Detroit, where the official BLS unemployment rate was 27 percent, while the broader measure pushed the city's unemployment rate to 44.8 percent.

Detroit, an inner city 'dead zone'

The Times Online noted a grim reality in Detroit in which piles of unburied bodies tell the story of a "city in despair."

"The abandoned corpses, in white body bags with number tags tied to each toe, lie one above the other on steel racks inside a giant freezer in Detroit's central mortuary, like discarded shoes in the back of a wardrobe," Tim Reid wrote in the article.

"Some have lain here for years, but in the recent months the number of unclaimed bodies has reached a record high. For in this city that once symbolized the American dream many cannot even afford to bury their dead."

Gone from Detroit is the employment power of the Big Three automakers - GM, Ford and Chrysler - while the murder rate is soaring, the school system is in receivership, and the city treasury is $300 million short of the funds needed to provide even the most basic city services, such as garbage collection.

"Thousands of houses are abandoned, roofs ripped off, windows smashed," Reid wrote. "Block after block of shipping districts lie boarded up."

Despite President Obama's rapidly sinking poll numbers, more than 90 percent of African-Americans still support his presidency.



Chinese car park has wider spaces for women drivers

A shopping centre in the northern Chinese city of Shijiazhuang has built a car park with extra-wide spaces to accommodate female drivers.

By Malcolm Moore in Shanghai -

29 Dec 2009

A car park that offers women drivers bigger parking spaces at a shopping centre in Shijiazhuang, north China's Hebei province Photo: AFP

The Wanxiang-Tiancheng shopping centre women-only car park has bays that are three feet wider than normal and painted in a delicate pink and light purple colour scheme.

Female parking attendants have been employed to guide female drivers into their berths, which are also better lit than in the ordinary car park.

Wang Zheng, the manager of the facility, said that the design would appeal to women's "strong sense of colour and different sense of distance".

He said: "There is a scientific basis for all this. Women have a poorer sense of distance when they are locked inside a small space.

That is why female drivers often bump the front and back of their cars. There is also a 15 per cent greater chance that a woman will whack her car door into another car when she opens it."

One female driver interviewed by the Hebei Youth Daily newspaper said she appreciated the gesture. The driver, who was named only as Miss Zhang, said: "Female drivers just are not as good as male drivers, technically. The added space helps us to park safely. I think it shows respect for women. I hope that other facilities will take women's needs into consideration."

China is currently the world's largest car market as its increasingly wealthy middle class takes to the roads. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers expects car sales to top 13 million in 2009.

However, driving remains a risky proposition, with more than 200 deaths in road accidents every day, according to the police.



The boy who paints like an old master

His pictures cost upwards of £900, there are 680 people on a waiting list to buy them, and his second exhibition sold out in 14 minutes. Patrick Barkham meets the gifted artist Kieron Williamson, aged seven - -

In pictures: Kieron Williamson's best work

After Gliman by Kieron Williamson.

Kieron Williamson kneels on the wooden bench in his small kitchen, takes a pastel from the box by his side and rubs it on to a piece of paper.

"Have you got a picture in your head of what you're going to do?" asks his mother, Michelle.

"Yep," Kieron nods. "A snow scene."

Because it is winter at the moment, I ask.


Do you know how you want it to come out?


And does it come out how you want it to?

"Sometimes it does."

Like many great artists, small boys are not often renowned for their loquaciousness. While Kieron Williamson is a very normal seven-year-old who uses his words sparingly, what slowly emerges on the small rectangle of paper in his kitchen is extraordinarily eloquent.

This month, Kieron's second exhibition in a gallery in his home town of Holt, Norfolk, sold out in 14 minutes. The sale of 16 new paintings swelled his bank account by £18,200. There are now 680 people on a waiting list for a Kieron original. Art lovers have driven from London to buy his work. Agents buzz around the town. People offer to buy his schoolbooks. The starting price for a simple pastel picture like the one Kieron is sketching? £900.

Kieron lives with his dad Keith, a former electrician, his mum, who is training to be a nutritionist, and Billie-Jo, his little sister, in a small flat overlooking a petrol station. When I arrive on a Saturday afternoon, Kieron and Keith are out. When Kieron returns in football socks and shorts, I assume he has been playing football. But no, he has been replenishing his stock of pastels in Holt, a chichi little place where even the chip shop has grainy portraits for sale on its walls.

Artist Kieron Williamson, age seven, painting at home in Holt, Norfolk. Photograph: Graham Turner

From Jan Lievens to Millais, there have been plenty of precocious geniuses in the art world. Excitable press coverage has compared Kieron to Picasso, who painted his first canvas, The Picador, aged eight.

"We don't know who Picasso is really," says Keith.

"I know who Picasso is," interrupts Kieron. "I don't want to become Picasso."

Who would he like to become? "Monet or Edward Seago," he says.

These days, however, we are often suspicious of child prodigies. We wonder if it is all their own work, or whether their pushy parents have hot-housed them. People who don't know the Williamsons might think Kieron is being cleverly marketed, particularly when they hear that Keith is now an art dealer.

The truth is far more innocent. Two years ago, a serious accident had forced Keith to stop work and turn his hobby - collecting art - into an occupation. The accident also stopped Keith racing around outside with his son. Confined to a flat with no garden, surrounded by paintings and, like any small boy, probably influenced by his dad, Kieron decided to take up drawing. Now, father and son are learning about art together.

Kieron is rubbing yellows and greys together for his sky. "There's some trees going straight across and then there's a lake through the centre," he explains. Is this picture something you have seen or is it in your imagination? "I saw it on the computer and every time I do the picture it changes." he says, handling his pastels expertly.

Keith ducks into the kitchen and explains that Kieron finds pictures he likes on the internet. Rather than an exact copy, however, he creates his own version. This winter scene is imagined from an image of the Norfolk Broads in summer.

Figures at Holkham by Kieron Williamson

At first, Kieron's art was pretty much like any other five-year-old's. But he quickly progressed and was soon asking questions that his parents couldn't answer. "Kieron wanted to know the technicalities of art and how to put a painting together," says Michelle. Hearing of Kieron's promise, one local artist, Carol Ann Pennington, offered him some tips. Since then, he has had lessons with other Norfolk-based painters, including Brian Ryder and his favourite, Tony Garner.

Garner, a professional artist, has taught more than 1,000 adults over the last few decades and Kieron, he says, is head and shoulders above everyone. "He doesn't say very much, he doesn't ask very much, he just looks. He's a very visual learner. If I did a picture with most students, they will copy it but Kieron is different. He will copy it and then he will Kieronise it," he says. "It might be a bit naive at the moment but there's a lovely freshness about what he does. The confidence that this little chap has got - he just doesn't see any danger."

Garner says his parents have been brilliant at shielding Kieron from the business side and the pressure this invariably brings. Keith and Michelle are extremely proud, and protective, and perhaps slightly in awe of their son. They insist that Kieron only paints when he wants to.

"We judge ourselves every day, wondering whether we are making the right choices," says Michelle. "Kieron is such a strong character you wouldn't get him to do anything he didn't want to do anyway. It's a hobby. Some could argue he's got such a talent, why aren't we doing more for him in terms of touring galleries every weekend. We are a family and we've got Billie-Jo to consider; you've got to strike a balance."

Boat at half way house by Kieron Williamson

With all the people wanting paintings, I ask Kieron if he feels he has to do them. He says no.

So you only paint when you want to? "Yep."

Do you have days when you feel you don't want to paint?


So you only do it when you're in the mood?


How many paintings or drawings do you do each week? One or two? "About six."

Is he a perfectionist? "You've got a bit of an artist's temperament, haven't you?" says Michelle, softly, as Kieron continues wielding his pastels. "You get really frustrated if it doesn't work out. You punched a hole in the canvas once, didn't you?"

That was rare. Sometimes, however, Kieron will produce "what we classify as a bag of trosh," says Michelle. "He's just got to go through the motions. It's almost as if it's a release. It's difficult to explain - it's the process that he enjoys, because there are days when he is not really focused on his work but he just enjoys doing it."

Sometimes, when they have taken Kieron out on painting trips in the countryside, the little boy has had other ideas: he has gone off and played in the mud or a stream. He is still allowed to be seven years old.

What do his school friends think? Are they impressed? "Yep." A few-moments later, Kieron pauses. "I am also top of the class in maths, English, geography and science," he says carefully, rubbing the sky in his picture.

Kieron explains he is sticking to landscapes for now but plans to paint a portrait of his 98-year-old nan when she turns 100. What does he think about people spending so much money on his paintings? "Really good." Would he like to be a professional painter? "Yep." So he doesn't want to be a footballer when he is older? "I want to be a footballer and a painter."

Kieron enjoys playing football and, like his dad, supports Leeds United ("I haven't ever pushed him into it," says Keith quickly). What other things does Kieron like doing? "You played on the Xbox but then you got bored of it didn't you?" says Keith.

"You said I could have it out when Christmas comes," says Kieron.

"You can have it out in the holidays," promises Michelle. "He's a bit all-or-nothing with whatever he does, like the artwork. You have to pull the reins in a bit because otherwise he'd be up all night."

What would his parents say if Kieron turned around and told them he was not going to paint any more? "Leave him to it. As long as he's happy. At the end of the day, he's at his happiest painting," says Keith. "It's entirely his choice," says Michelle. "We don't know what's around the corner."

Kieron might decide to put his boxes away and football might take over and that would be entirely his choice. We're feeling slightly under pressure at the moment because there is such a waiting list of people wanting Kieron's work, but I'm inclined to tell them to wait, really."

I doubt many artists could paint or draw while answering questions and being photographed but Kieron carries on. When he finishes, we lean over to look. "Not bad. That's nice," says Keith, who can't watch Kieron at work; I wonder if it is because he is worried about his son making a mistake but Keith says he just prefers to see the finished article.

"Is it as good as the one I did this morning or better?" asks Kieron.

"What do you think?" replies Keith. "It's got a nice glow on it, hasn't it?"

Kieron nods.

I would love one of his pictures but, I tell Kieron, he is already too expensive for me. "I can price one down for you," he says, as quick as a flash.

No, no, I couldn't, I say, worried I would be exploiting a little boy who is eager to please. I thank him for his time and hand him my business card. And Kieron trots into his bedroom, comes out with his business card and says thank you back.

Kieron's tips for landscape painting

1 "Go on holiday to where you really want to go, and be inspired."

2 "Start with acrylics, then watercolours, then pastels and then oils"

3 When you set out to do a landscape, "start with the sky first, top to bottom."

4 "When you do distance, it's lighter, and when you do foreground it comes darker."

5 "If you're doing a figure in the winter, do a brown head, leave a small gap, do a blue jacket and brown legs. Then with the gap get a red pastel and do a flick of red so it looks like a scarf."

6 "Keep on painting."


"Remain in Me"

by Marian V. Liautaud, Kyria, December 22, 2009

Nearly seven years ago, I started a business. I prayed diligently about the decision and sensed God's confirmation to move forward. Because of my inexperience in retail operations, I depended heavily on God for wisdom and direction. Between the first time I caught a vision for this venture and the day we opened our doors, I prayed every step of the way.

On opening day, customers lined up around the building. With pounding heart and sweaty palms, I became acutely aware of the fact that the success or failure of this business rested on me. For the next four years, I ran the store as if this were true.

Instead of praying for God's wisdom or listening to the counsel of trusted advisors, like my husband, Dan, who was also my business partner, I relied on my own understanding. I simply was too busy and preoccupied to spend time reading my Bible. And when I did make time, I found myself re-reading the same passage over and over and never grasping the words. Daily preoccupation over my work took the place of daily quiet time with God.

Jesus said, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).

I discovered how true his words are. The longer I skimmed in my spiritual life, the further I fell from the vine. And the further I fell from the vine, the more all my efforts proved fruitless.

Making decisions apart from God and Dan started to have a snowball effect that eventually led to the demise of our business--and nearly our marriage.

Looking back on those four years, I know now what was at play: apart from Christ, I could do nothing. Instead of remaining in Jesus, as he instructs us to do in John 15:5, I ran on ahead without him.

If I remain in Christ and he remains in me, there is nothing we can't do together.


     God bless you in the year ahead.

Almondtree Productions

"And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent."
(Revelation 12:14)

On Eagles Wings