AN AUTHOR’S HEART REJOICES

Few things bring more joy to an author’s heart than to receive a message and photograph like below!

“Finally got mine yesterday from my office mate. I’m so excited. You are an awesome author. May God bless you. I’m still looking for a copy of God’s Promise, it’s so difficult to get hold off.”

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EDIT YOUR LIFE

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Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly.  It’s your masterpiece after all.                        (Nathan W. Morris)

We are given only one life to live.  Why not make that life a masterpiece through frequent editing and revaluing?  Below is my  personalised version of what the Oxford Dictionary defines EDIT as:

EDIT

1. to prepare your life for publication by checking and improving the accuracy and clarity of how you are living.

2. to be in charge of your life

3. to prepare your life by rearranging, selecting, or rejecting previous ways of living

4. to modify your life by, for exampledeletinginserting, or moving certain aspects of your life, or by copying the behaviour of people you admire

5. to remove incorrect or unwanted behaviour or matter from your life

…put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24)

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PARENTING – A THANKLESS JOB!

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This morning after I had dropped my children off at school the thought crossed my mind that “sometimes it is quite a thankless job being a parent”. God immediately replied “Tell me about it Noel. I totally agree with you! You didn’t even greet me when you woke up this morning and it has been quite a while since you have taken the time to just sit and look at the wonderful world I created for you, never mind thank me for it. You take a lot of things for granted, my child”.

As I reflected on this I realized that God must sometimes feel exactly the same way about my attitude as I do about my children’s attitude. He must look down at me and think “My child, why are you so thankless”.

We provide a home for our children, work hard to feed and clothe them and give them a good education. We love them and care for them and yet at times we feel discouraged when it seems that everything we do is just taken for granted and there is little sense of appreciation of what they have.

Can you just imagine how God must feel? He gave His only Son to die a horrific death on the cross so that we could have fullness of life here on earth and eternal life with Him and yet how often do we just take that for granted?
We grumble and complain that we don’t have this or that. We constantly ask God to bless us and help us and give Him a list of demands of our ‘needs’ and then get upset when those ‘needs’ are not met in the way we want them to be.

God disciplines us because He cares for us and does not want any harm to befall us and yet we rebel against Him because we want to live our own lives. We don’t want to have to love and care for everybody. We don’t want to have to practice self-control and not swear at the taxi driver who is blatantly breaking the law and driving dangerously. We don’t have ‘time’ to pray and meditate on God’s word on a daily basis.

That last ‘we don’t’ brought me up short as I realized that my children must feel exactly the same way about me as God does at times. I often don’t have ‘time’ for them. I am so busy working, cleaning, lifting, cooking and doing a myriad of things that are actually not that important that I don’t have time to just ‘be’ with them. The two most common sentences that they hear me utter are “not now, I am busy” and “I am so tired”. Basically time is all we have and we can either use it well or waste it.

“I tell you, now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation”.
(2 Corinthians 6:2)

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

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‘IMITATION’

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The other morning on my way to work the car driving in front of me stopped suddenly and I had to slam on my car brakes.  My left arm automatically shot out to protect the person in the seat next to me even though there was no-one sitting there. My response was immediate and totally automatic.  I did, however, stop my handbag from taking a bad tumble!!

My mother used to do the same thing.  If she had to brake suddenly her left arm would shoot out to protect the passenger next to her from going through the wind shield.

As I carried on driving I thought how amazing it would be if my spiritual life was just as automatic. If my time spent with God during the day became such a habit that I didn’t even have to think about it.  How incredible if, on opening my eyes in the morning, my first thought was of God.  How different my life would be if I made praising and thanking God a habit.  If, at all times, I would dwell on what the Word says:

“Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about.” Philippians 4:8  

How incredible it would be if we lived in such a way that our children saw God in us and copied our Godly ways – just as I instinctively copied my mother’s act of throwing out her arm to protect a passenger without her ever having said a word about this action– our children copied our lifestyle in Christ.

This thought made me aware of how often I am not an example of a Godly person!

Just as I imitated my mother by shooting out my arm, we are called to “be imitators of God…to live a life of love..,” Ephesians 5:1

My prayer is that from this day forward I will strive to live a life of love in obedience to Christ’s commands.

He has said that His grace is sufficient for us and I am going to cling to that truth!

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. – Charles Caleb Colton 

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TABLE MOUNTAIN, CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

Amazing footage of Table Mountain taken over a period of a few months at roughly 7.15 in the morning at the same spot. A project to show how things change over time.
Cape Town, South Africa
Photographer:  Emma Jane Curry (My fourteen year old daughter!)

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“ORDINARY” PEOPLE – inspirational stories (three)

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I wondered why somebody didn’t do something. Then I realized, I am somebody. ~Author Unknown

It never ceases to amaze me how just one person can make a difference in the lives of so many.

I recently met a woman who is ‘somebody’.

She lives in Wisconsin, USA, and has had a major ongoing impact on the lives of sixty-three people, living in South Africa.  Her name is Constance Thornton and she works as a Front Office Manageress at the Raddison Hotel, Milwaukee.

At the beginning of this year Constance decided, that for her 32nd birthday, she wanted to give rather than receive.

She has a heart for empowering and equipping young girls and teenagers to live their lives to the fullest.  She loves travelling and had always wanted to visit Africa so she googled ‘orphanages’ in South Africa and Anja, from the Sisanda Fundaytion, responded almost immediately. The Sisanda Fundaytion “is a non-profit organisation working with volunteers to influence the lives of disadvantaged children in South Africa through recreation, education and inspirational fun.”

Constance committed herself to raising funds for a Connect Day and promptly started a Go Fund Me campaign. To date she has raised $1 070 which when converted into South African currency is R14 336.29 which is a lot of money! There was enough money for a Connect Day as well as money to buy the girls from Ikhaya le themba items from their Christmas wish list.

A few days before Constance was due to arrive in South Africa for her birthday, Anja and a few volunteers went out to Ikhaya le themba – Home of hope to start making Constance’s
birthday present – a map of Africa.  Each country ‘designed’ by the girls from Ikhaya le themba who went on the Connect Day.

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On the morning of the 23rd October, 32 girls from Ikhaya le themba and the volunteers from the ‘Sisterhood’ together with other volunteers embarked on a day of fun and friendship filled with pizza and birthday cake.

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This day will live on in the memories of the girls and volunteers for a very long time and was only made possible because someone decided to be ‘somebody’ – ‘somebody’ decided to bring joy, laughter and friendship into the lives of those less privileged than herself.

Constance believes life is about connecting, about being able to tell someone ‘I love you, you are beautiful, you are special’ – about giving back to others who do not have the resources that she has.

Constance finds her inspiration from her mom and dad, her husband, friends and family.  Her heart’s desire is to empower and inspire girls to achieve their potential in life.

Can you imagine what this world would be like if we all decided to be ‘somebody’?

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What an inspiration Constance is to me – one woman in America impacting the lives of so many people in Africa.

Below is a one of Constance’s much loved quotes:

“The universe responds to our inner yearnings by mysteriously bringing people into our life to answer our questions and help quell our conflicts. Every time you follow your intuition, your personal vibration intensifies. This can be likened to turning up the volume on a stereo. The more your personal vibration is intensified the more you will pull people into your life who carry messages for you. It is a universal law.”  ~ Denise Linn

Constance certainly pulled a lot of people into her life whilst here in Africa and one of the cards she received from a child at Ikhaya le themba sums it all up:

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“ORDINARY” PEOPLE – inspirational stories (two)

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Daniel Kyle was born in the year 1961.  He never knew his parents as he was placed into foster care from the time he was born and later into orphanages.

As an adult, he spent many years sleeping on the streets, smoking dope, spent some time in prison and some time in a hospital for the mentally ill and yet, at his funeral (he died on the 17th November 2013) the church was full of people from all walks of life who had come to say farewell to a man that had touched their lives in some way.

Daniel came into my life in the year 2007. He used to sit in the back row of our church and whilst on a church camp he confided in my husband, Steve, that he was far lonelier in the church than he had ever been whilst living on the streets. He would later acknowledge, how within the church body God blessed him.  The church needed him and he needed the church. Steve invited him to come and have supper with us, so on the following Wednesday, Daniel arrived and for the next five years (apart from school holidays or when we were away) Daniel came and had supper with us every second Wednesday of the month.

Daniel became a part of our family.  At the supper table, Daniel would tell us stories about his life and we and our three daughters would listen with fascination as he told us what it had been like growing up as an orphan in foster homes and various orphanages.  He exposed us to a way of life that we had no knowledge of.  A life in a foster home, a life in an orphanage, a life on the street, a life in prison, a life in a mental hospital, a life in a church as an outsider.

He once confided to us that we were the first family he had ever eaten a meal with – a mother, a father and children all sitting around a table together eating and talking.  He was forty-six years old at the time.

He brought a new depth into our lives and we started to see the world from a different perspective.  He had compassion for those less fortunate than him and he was an incredibly generous person.  I will never view beggars in the same light again after having a conversation with him one night.  I had shared how I did not know how to react to the beggars on the road especially the ones that swamped the car as soon as it stopped at a red traffic light.  We have always been told not to give food or money as this just enables folks to stay on the street.  Daniel told me that the only thing I had to do was give them their dignity.  I had to acknowledge them as people, make eye contact, smile and ask them how they were doing.

It was a lesson that I will never forget – always give people their dignity.

One of the many people whose life Daniel impacted was that of his social worker, Michelle. She was his social worker for most of his adult life because every time Michelle was transferred to a different office or position she took Daniel’s file with  her – she could not bear to lose touch with him and his humility and compassion had a huge effect on her life.

Daniel had a lovely sense of humour and the gift of being able to laugh at himself.  He challenged us to think about and accept people from different backgrounds!

Daniel loved God and was not afraid to question God or get upset with Him and often felt deeply disappointed by God.  But through all his fears and doubt he knew that God cared for him.  A few months before he died he wrote:

“Why trust in the gold and riches of today, while tomorrow it may be gone?  Why spend your time and wealth on food that does not satisfy the soul?  Rather feed on wisdom, that fills your appetite for truth and life into Eternity, where there is no death nor sorrow nor pain!  For life thrives on the unity of truth, grace, mercy and love for one to another.”

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“A friend loves at all times” (Proverbs 17:17)

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