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About jonbirch

animator, illustrator, character designer, graphic designer. music producer/recording musician. co-owner of PROOST. proost.co.uk
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51 Responses to 731

  1. LindyB says:

    I like this. Sometimes it feels pointless to be anything other than someone who directly makes a difference in people’s lives. But I guess we can all do that albeit in very different ways.

  2. jonbirch says:

    indeed, lindyb. there are many ways to make a small difference to the bit of the world we occupy. :-)

  3. Carole says:

    I shall take that message into the world with me tomorrow…thanks! xx

    Hair’s grown a bit, then Jon?

  4. Miriworm says:

    I think your small corner might make a difference Jon, although I’m not sure I could explain precisely how! :-D

  5. jonbirch says:

    me neither, miriworm, me neither. :-D

    9 months growth since seeing me at greenbelt, carole. whenever i see a hairdresser, i cross the road. :-D

    i often feel ten times worthless and worse, powerless. but i guess it’s not true.

  6. Carole says:

    I know that saying it doesn’t make it easier to believe…but one look at your stats will tell you what a positive impact you have on loads of people so you must be doing something very right. The world is a far better place for having you in it, mister. :)

  7. Caroline Too says:

    the meditation for day 21, from Celtic Daily Prayer, Northumbria Community

    Seven times a day, as I work upon this hungry farm,I say to Thee,
    ‘Lord, why am I here?
    What is there here to stir my gifts to growth?
    What great thing can I do for others – I who am captive to this dreary toil?’

    And seven times a day Thou answerest,
    ‘I cannot do without thee.
    Once did My Son live thy life,
    and by His faithfulness did show My mind,
    My kindness, and My truth to men.
    But now He is come to My side, and thou must take His place.’
    From Hebridean Altars

  8. Carole says:

    I like that, Caroline…I always feel captive to dreary toil. Good reminder about the right attitude to have.

  9. subo says:

    oh, how I’d love to shine, and feel good about achieving stuff!

    it’s as much as I can do to try to get things right, I do have the opportunity to treat people with respect in my job, but not to wear a cross, and I keep trying to remember it’s ok to smile, and relaise I’m frowning grimly

  10. Gavin says:

    Thanks Caroline Too for the wonderful Celtic prayer – I’m misty eyed and moved!

    For some reason I’m also reminded of a recent visit to Kibble Palace in Glasgow and the ‘monocarpic’ plants. Those that only flower once in a lifetime. Usually spectacularly but only after long decades of steady imperceptible growing.

    Perhaps we should encourage people about their potential monocarpic qualities rather than the giving in to the cultural norm of over achievement and success driven shining ministry.

  11. jonbirch says:

    you are sooo not wrong gavin… and sooo very right.

  12. jonbirch says:

    thanks carole. :-)

  13. dennis says:

    nope I still dont get it but that does not matter at all to me.

    I would echo what Carole said at (6) ASBO is my Church and has been a life saver for me you would never!! know what inspiration and encouragement this place has brought me its helped me to keep the faith so thank God for your small corner. love.

  14. Hayles says:

    Absolutely great stuff, Jon.


  15. beatthedrum says:


    You make a difference in my life by challenging my prejudices and making me smile!

    Keep shining!

    And I will try and keep shining where I am.


  16. Kathryn says:

    You do indeed do rather alot of shining in these parts, Jon…I’m glad of your community too. Am pondering the monocarpic plants, & wondering if churches do that too…

  17. AnneDroid says:

    I always think shininess is much easier to spot in other Christians than in ourselves.

  18. Amy Watson says:

    thanks for this Jon… i definitely see you as a very shiney Christian :)

    I always like Joyce Meyer laughing at people who complain that they are the only Christian in their work place. She responds…. ‘and you want to leave?!?!?!’

  19. JF says:

    …and sometimes shininess is spotted in people completely independently of whether or not they are Christians!

  20. jonbirch says:

    thanks peeps for the kind words. :-)

    annedroid… you made me think again. :-) i wonder whether we notice so many things in others that we can be blind to in ourselves. whether it be shininess or prejudice…

  21. Miriworm says:

    I’ve just realised you’ve put all the rest of us in hospital! :-D

  22. Pat says:

    Jon @ 21: I think that although there are times when we seem to be stumbling in the dark, or even when we feel that we are dark ourselves we can still sometimes produce a gleam of lambent light that illuminates a hand-hold or a foothold to someone else. We might not be aware of it..except when it happens in reverse and someone doea that for us.

    Isn’t one of the adages about spotting prejudices in others that the traits that tend to annoy us in another person are those which we can’t face up to in our own characters :-? Not a comfortable thought :-(

  23. AnneDroid says:

    I’m interested in what you/others have to say about the patient in the bed and how they might shine in that particular corner.

    I think it’s easy to value people for output (and Jon your output is amazing – if I came up with just one of those cartoons it would take me another year to have another idea!).

    I think it’s harder for folk who’re in a place where they can’t DO anything to feel that they are shining.

    My thought for the week is that I’m a human being, not a human doing, but getting it into my head is like nailing a jelly to the wall.

  24. jonbirch says:

    “I’m a human being, not a human doing, but getting it into my head is like nailing a jelly to the wall.” profound and funny. :-D

  25. jonbirch says:

    pat @ 24… not funny at all in the light of recent conversation.

  26. Cooperton says:

    Annedroid #25 … that’s what I saw first before i noticed the nurse! The patient in his little corner, being all he can be within whatever limitations have put him there, somehow smiling.

    Both me and my husband have long-term illnesses that mean we often cannot do very much. It’s taken me a long time to detox the guilt I feel at not being able to ‘do mission’ and change the world.

    We’ve been starting to meditate on being exactly where we are and finding God in that precise moment and set of circumstances — even when we’re totally wiped out and good for nothing. Somehow when we do that, everything connects and is good.

    Anyone see ‘Diving Bell and the Butterfly’??, says a lot about the value behind our do-eyness.

  27. cooperton says:

    Following on from #25 & as husband of #28 (hello gorgeous), Ignatius was someone who shined on a sick bed. He was a 16th Century knight who ended up being confined to his bed after a canon ball smashed his leg. Robbed of what he thought was his identity, he journeyed deep into God and who God had made him to be. As a result he developed some spiritual exercises, and Ignatian spirituality has been a huge blessing to countless people.

    The thing we’ve found as we’ve engaged more with finding God in the present is that we’ve just chatted with friends about what God’s doing & how we’re having our eyes opened to finding him in all things, and they’ve ended up finding life from it, and it’s really helped them with where they’re at. Which is nice.

  28. Cooperton says:

    (The second post by cooperton is actually Cooperton’s husband. I don’t usually go about posting ‘hello gorgeous’ to myself on message boards!!)

  29. jonbirch says:

    welcome to you both, coopertons. :-) thank you so much for your contribution and for sharing your experience and wisdom.

  30. Robb says:

    I can highly recommend the 19th annotation for people who want to engage deeply and meditatively with God. I’d recommend that you get a good spiritual director/guide before you do as the Ignatian exercises can be quite harrowing at times as it focusses one upon the relationship we have with God and certainly erly on in the exercises it goes deeply into personal sin and then on to forgiveness.

    The exercises pretty much comprise a 30 day Ignatian retreat as if conducted over a period of months rather than five hour-hour and half meditations a day.


    Blessings to you all wherever your light is shining. You will be suprised about the number of people who have seen your light shine but are too embarrassed to tell you about it. You all (that includes you Mr Birch) have been a great help to my personal spiritual journey as you have instructed, guided, encouraged and corrected me over the course of the last two years whilst I have been coming here.

    Kepp up the good work! May God bless you richly!

  31. Carole says:

    Aww! I just love it when we have one of our ASBO love in posts! Leaves me with a lovely warm glow. Thank you, you wonderful people! XOXOXOX

  32. projectpastiche says:

    @beatthedrum 16 said what I mean to say.

    Yes, I’m so liberal I might as well be a Quaker… but I struggle with my prejudices against the conservatives. This is much of why:

    but Christ calls us to bless those who curse us. Thank you, Jonbirch, for helping me in that

  33. projectpastiche says:
  34. raginggenius says:

    So true.

  35. AnneDroid says:

    Carole #33 Me too. Haha.
    Mwah mwah everyone!

  36. haha love this, very random!

  37. Forrest says:

    Anyone realize that in first panel it might be either nurse or patient who is the one who makes the difference?

  38. projectpastiche says:

    @Forrest #39–i did wonder about which one he meant, or if he meant both.

  39. dadube says:

    Awww a feel good cartoon – very nice Mr Birch :)
    You definitely make a light shine in our family’s life – missing you xxx

  40. Carole says:

    Forrest – yep, you’re right. AnneDroid and one half of Cooperton touched on this earlier on in the thread. My two penn’orth? My parents taught me a lot about how to die – one of the greatest lessons I will learn in life. Friends who have been stricken with illness/disability/awful life events have made me feel humbled by their response to their situation. A story which has impressed me in the last few days is of a young man, only in his early 20s, who was dying from cancer and set off on a long, gruelling sponsored walk for the hospital which treated him:


    Instead of moaning about my lot I ought to look for the little ways that I can ‘magnify God’s glory’ for the rest of the world.

  41. subo says:

    Hiya fold, as always very moving to pop into asbo and read your comments, there is so much love, warmth and wisdom here.

    I’ve developed a bit of a taste for meditative spirituality, and read Jan Johnson and similar, these writers have helped me find a place of wonder and tenderness.

    I know there’s some self exploration / repentance involved, for me this has bought a sense of God’s love for me in my stumbling (rage), and His longing to touch the wounds. I’ve found my self picked up and given a new sense of my own value. Now I think the authentic, gentle nudging of the Holy Spirit, to stop bad stuff, is so filled with tenderness that one can safely ignore a brash, accusatory, humiliating voice, especially if it’s contaminated with condemnation or thoughtless demands, as the ‘accuser of the brethren’, and not from God, not leading to God, not working with God.

    When God leads, He talks to us, giving us an understanding of His Kingdom plans, He might ask us to try things that seem impossible, or not immediately making sense, I do however believe He wants us to place ourselves in His care with a growing knowledge of the Glory of His Kingdom

  42. subo says:

    thanks Carol, for the story of Tom Buckley, it felt very relevant to read today.

  43. Mike says:

    Improve you posture young man. :)

    Thanks for improving all our lives, keep the art work coming.

  44. jonbirch says:

    thanks peeps. what a friendly thread. here’s to the fuzzies! :-)

  45. Derek says:

    Good stuff as usual :o)

    I noticed recently… Paul thought he made a difference when in prison (see eg Eph 4v1).

    Thanks Jon.

  46. andyp says:

    Jon, you need to get wireless for your laptop.

  47. smudge says:

    well I’ve done both [nurse and internet ministering] and all manner of other things

    times and seasons

    gotta know which we are to fit into at any given time

  48. Kim says:

    Oh I’ve been away on hols and while it was lovely having no tinternet so no email or work nonsense, I did miss my regular dose of ASBO and its great to catch up and feel the lurve thats here!

  49. MDMattes says:

    Just stumbled upon your blog, and I am thankful and appreciative for your thoughtful work!

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