Do you know how many countries there are in the world?

100

Do you know how many countries there are in the world?
Different numbers pop up when one inquires or reads about the number of countries in the world. Each source you use often yields a different answer. Ultimately, the best answer is that there are 196 countries in the world.

Why am I telling you this? Well, I like statistics, especially those of this blog here. You can read so much in all those numbers – and numbers don’t lie.
Yesterday, while spending a few minutes reading through the stats, once again impressed by the number of views in total (almost 57.000), I noticed that there was a country in the “visitors from…” list I hadn’t seen there before. I checked back and, yes, Kenya was “new to the family”. Now that fact itself is not so very special – but Kenya marks number 100 on the list of countries from which people come to visit this blog.

We could pat ourselves on the back now and say “Wow, look, what we’ve achieved! People from 100 different countries came to visit our blog.” But is that true? A fact? Not really. People don’t come to visit us – they come to read about Oscar Pistorius. They enter Oscar-related keywords in search engines (yes, the stats show that as well) and they send in their thoughts about and messages for Oscar – not for anybody else. They want to support and encourage him, share their empathy and compassion for him. They do that because Oscar Pistorius has given the world so much in the past, never too tired to speak for the less fortunate. It’s Oscar’s achievements and charitable actions that still impress people – another fact you can read in the stats, the feedback, the comments and the countless supportive messages.

Look, Oscar, half the world has not forgotten about all that you’ve done in the past. The stats of this place show that literally half the world still respects and loves you – and statistics never lie.

Mira & the SupportForOscar team

  1 Albania   35 Greece   69 Philippines
  2 Algeria   36 Grenada   70 Poland
  3 Angola   37 Guam   71 Portugal
  4 Argentina   38 Guernsey   72 Puerto Rico
  5 Armenia   39 Honduras   73 Qatar
  6 Aruba   40 Hong Kong   74 Republic of Korea
  7 Australia   41 Hungary   75 Réunion
  8 Austria   42 Iceland   76 Romania
  9 Azerbaijan   43 India   77 Russian Federation
  10 Bangladesh   44 Indonesia   78 Saudi Arabia
  11 Belgium   45 Ireland   79 Serbia
  12 Bermuda   46 Isle of Man   80 Singapore
  13 Bosnia and Herzegovina   47 Israel   81 Slovakia
  14 Botswana   48 Italy   82 Slovenia
  15 Brazil   49 Japan   83 South Africa
  16 Bulgaria   50 Kenya   84 Spain
  17 Cambodia   51 Latvia   85 Swaziland
  18 Canada   52 Lithuania   86 Sweden
  19 Chile   53 Macedonia, the Former Yugoslav Republic   87 Switzerland
  20 Costa Rica   54 Malaysia   88 Taiwan
  21 Croatia   55 Malta   89 Thailand
  22 Cyprus   56 Mauritius   90 Trinidad and Tobago
  23 Czech Republic   57 Mexico   91 Turkey
  24 Denmark   58 Morocco   92 Ukraine
  25 Djibouti   59 Namibia   93 United Arab Emirates
  26 Dominican Republic   60 Nepal   94 United Kingdom
  27 Egypt   61 Netherlands   95 United Republic of Tanzania
  28 Estonia   62 New Zealand   96 United States
  29 Ethiopia   63 Nigeria   97 Venezuela
  30 Finland   64 Norway   98 Viet Nam
  31 France   65 Oman   99 Zambia
  32 Georgia   66 Pakistan   100 Zimbabwe
  33 Germany   67 Panama      
  34 Ghana   68 Peru      

Message for Oscar: Chin Up, Buttercup

Dear Oscar

Ever wondered where the saying ‘Chin up Buttercup’ came from?

When you were a little boy, did you ever play the buttercup game? Or maybe that was just played by little sun kissed girls, on balmy summer days in the fields of England, long ago. To play, you simply hold a buttercup flower underneath your chin, and if your neck lights up yellow then its conclusive and unquestionable proof that you like butter!

However, grown up’s being what they are, scientists at the University of Cambridge were somewhat less convinced that this buttery reflection was evidence of a predilection for dairy products. So, with nothing better to do, in 2011, they set about discovering the ‘real reason’ for the golden glow given off by this beautiful little spring flower. And they discovered that the petals contain a pigment which absorbs the light in the blue and green region of the optical spectrum. This gives this little wild beauty its gorgeous yellow hue. Because the petals of the buttercup have two layers separated by a gap of air, when light is reflected by the smooth surface of the cells, the layer of air effectively amplifies the gloss of the petal. And apparently, it is this superior gloss effect, and not a person’s liking for butter, that causes the buttercup to reflect light under a little person’s chin better than any other flower of the field.

Of course, this theory is stuff and nonsense. Everyone knows that it’s a fondness for butter that causes the glow; this has been undisputed for years! But, it’s an appealing theory nevertheless. It makes me think that we, your friends and supporters, in our own way, are like those buttercups. Oscar, you illuminated the world with your fire, your zest for life and your humanity, lit by the inspirational golden glow of a good heart. And now, a veil of tragedy and sorrow threatens to dim that glow. But, those of us who know your heart and who see the truth are like those buttercups. We have absorbed the light and wrapped it in layers of empathy and belief, safe and protected within our glossy petals of friendship. And until that day when the veil has lifted and the light of your heart can shine brightly on its own again, we will continue to release the light contained within, little by little, day by day, and reflect it back to you in a golden shower of love and empathy. And the light will shine on.  

Chin up buttercup image

Love Heather

Oscar non sei solo – Oscar, you are not alone

ISAIA: (41:10)

“Tu, no temere, perchè io sono con te; non ti smarrire, perchè io sono il tuo Dio; io ti fortifico, io ti soccorro, io ti sostengo con la destra della mia giustizia.”

Oscar io ti starò sempre accanto la forza delle mie preghiere ed il mio amore ti sosterranno sempre.
Ogni qualvolta ti sentirai solo o smarrito nei brutti pensieri ti basterà chiudere gli occhi ed io sarò li accanto a sostenerti per mano e ti aiuterò a ripercorrere il cammino della luce e della speranza.
La distanza fisica non sarà un limite, sentirai la mia presenza e avvertirai il calore della mia mano tesa verso la tua, perchè l’incontro delle anime non conosce confini.
Non smettere mai di lottare, un forte abbraccio

Anna Lucia, Italy


English translation

Oscar, you are not alone.

Isaiah (41:10). “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Oscar, I will stand by you forever; the strength of my prayers and my love will always support you. Any time you will feel alone or lost in your dreadful thoughts, just close your eyes and I’ll be there to hold your hand, to support you and to help you to retrace the path of light and hope. Physical distance is not going to be a limit: you’ll feel my presence and the warmth of my hand reaching out to yours, because the encounter of two souls is not limited by borders. Never stop fighting! A big hug,

Anna Lucia

A Stellar Story

Supernova-remnant-W49B

‘From his observations he concluded that it was a star shining in the firmament itself, one that had never been seen before our time in any age since the beginning of the world’

Dear Oscar

When I think about you and what has transpired, I am reminded of a Supernova, the explosion of a star. It occurs when a massive star suffers a sudden internal core collapse. The event sends a shockwave far out into the cosmos and for a moment is so blindingly luminous that it outshines a whole galaxy so that everyone knows of its fate.

It is a violent and cataclysmic end. And yet, it is also a beginning, though of course not all these are good. For one consequence of a supernova is the formation of a black hole. A rip in the fabric of space-time, where physics breaks down, matter is crushed and not even light can escape.

And I worried. What of Oscar? What if he forms into a black hole, loses himself into an all encompassing darkness.. And yet, I thought. Do not be afeared, though I am sure, he will for a time, the darkness that then follows all Supernovae, the natural darkness, the time. But he is strong, stronger and more able than anyone I’ve ever known of. As strong as gravity that slowly becomes the dominant force, coalescing the gases and matter that were thrown out the heart of the star. For this is the other fate of a Supernova. To live again. Slowly, but surely the matter and gas condenses, swirling, forming a remnant cloud that hangs in the firmament as a symbolic tapestry that says, ‘here was a Star and here shall be Star again’. For out of a supernova come all the ingredients for new life, forming into an astonishingly beautiful nebula. A stellar nursery. You see, the Star is never truly lost, out of the darkness it forms itself again. All it needs is time.

“I think that we are like stars. Something happens to burst us open; but when we burst open and think we are dying; we’re actually turning into a supernova. And then when we look at ourselves again, we see that we’re suddenly more beautiful than we ever were before”
― C. JoyBell C.

Shine again Oscar. We believe in you.

Katie

rosette_lula_1700

Message for Oscar: Canopy of Love

Dearest Oscar

Tonight, when you are overwhelmed with weariness and you long for respite from the world, when you close your eyes and painful thoughts crowd your mind and threaten to deprive you of the blessed relief that sleep may bring; then direct your thoughts to the moon and stars, in their timeless glittering canopy as they shine ceaselessly over you like dazzling, invincible, sentinels in the great beyond. And remember, you are not alone. For, we your global family, though many miles apart, sleep at night under the same star spangled canopy and we too share their comforting, guarding and unending light. Though sometimes hidden from view, they never really leave us; though millions of light years away, they remain, shining and steadfast reminders of the eternal wonders of God and the universe.

Our perspectives vary, as these astral objects are hidden from view while the earth perpetually spins around its axis, delivering us night and day according to our place in the world, as though timely metaphors of our light and dark moments in time. And as the earth continues its ceaseless orbiting journey, year on year, the tides turn with gravitational forces, spring morphs into summer and autumn into winter and so the indestructible journey continues for us all regardless of our place on this extraordinary globe. Your moon is our moon. Your stars are our stars. Your God is our God.

And as our shared, universal journey continues and the moon and stars shine endlessly on, so it is with God. As our worlds differ according to our place in it, so our perspectives differ according to the diversity of our lives, our understandings and our experiences. Like the moon and the stars, when veiled by cloud, we sometimes feel He is hidden from us, but He is always there and we are never hidden from His view. He sees the turning of the tides and all the changing seasons in our lives, He loves us even in the bleakest darkness of our winters and He will never leave us. He has the universe in His hand and all the precious lives within it, that for Him shine more brightly than the moon or the most luminous stars in the canopy of the great beyond. And there are few stars that shine more brightly than yours Oscar. To mankind, who is so often blind to the light, your radiance is for now concealed behind a cloud of uncertainty and doubt. But to God, and those who are privileged to know your heart and see the truth, you remain a precious piece of his universe, a blazing star in the constellation of humanity, trusted, loved and never alone.

God bless you sweetheart.

May you sleep in peace tonight, under His canopy of divine love.

Heather  

Three things cannot be hidden

Butterfly Kisses

butterflies-turtle-tears-2[1]

Nature never fails to amaze us, nor does it neglect to teach us important life lessons.

Take this example, the Amazon jungle, where a swarm of colourful butterflies flock around the heads of turtles basking in the sun… in order to drink their tears.

Turtle sweat is rich in salt, a vital yet scarce mineral for animals and insects living miles away from the ocean. So while the turtles are kicking back and enjoying the sunshine, a kaleidoscope of orange and yellow butterflies appears en mass, surrounding the turtles’ heads, looking for a drink. The placid turtles, unperturbed by this intrusion, submit to their gentle touch and allow them to literally sip away their tears.

The lesson: don’t be afraid to cry. Tears have their benefits. And, if you let them, there will always be someone around to shower you with butterfly kisses.

Open your eyes: let the colour flood in.

Love Carly