I stopped. Just silent and still. I looked, only moving my eyes. It was perfect, just stunningly perfect. Nothing unusual or outstanding, a scene that has graced our eyes many a time, but today there was just something extraordinary about it.Continue reading “Just One Moment”
One little known fact about me, is my passion for dance. I grew up doing what was termed ‘creative dance’. I loved movement, challenging my body, trying to do new things, albeit slightly difficult due to being born with my hips twisted. Dance was something that enabled me to express myself. Watching shows like ‘Solid Gold’ or ‘Ready to Roll’ and seeing the latest dance moves, was a quiet passion of mine. I loved it when Mum and Dad would go and milk the cows, and I would turn up my favourite music loud, and dance my brain out!
Then I met a friend who equally, loved to dance! Ah the magic of sharing that passion with someone!! She was far more flexible than me, but she had a way of both challenging and helping me to bust out, as much as my body would take. We often would dance all around high school, and when there was dances, it was nothing for us to be the high kicking sisters of soul!
But then dancing in general, changed. It was less about moving and expressing yourself, and it became more seductive and sexual. I didn’t like that much. The images I saw on tv were less and less desirable for me to mimic, and yet still….still I wanted to dance. Going to nightclubs was my favourite thing, not for the alcohol – which helped with me shyness – but more for the ability to just lose all sense of control on the dance floor and leave it there.
And then something happened. I’m not entirely sure what, but somewhere along the way, through different things I experienced, and traumas that I had to deal with, the dancing stopped.
Becoming a Christian, then moving back home for a while, was wonderful. I would dance and sing on the lawn, and all through the paddocks, until the sun went down. I was dancing and singing for my King. No one else. I was so alive, so fully present, so complete. But then that too stopped. I got married, and then became a Mum, then full time ministry happened. Dancing stopped, and seemed to be frowned upon back in the early 90s. Along with it of course, all secular music left the building, and I became one of ‘those’ Christians who only listened to Christian music, read Christian books, watched Christian tv and movies – I became very dull indeed.
So much of the passion and fire that lighted my soul, remained simmering away, and occasionally a Christian artist would put out a funky song, so that at least the old hips could swing for a few minutes! But then, it would all be put away again until…..Riverdance!
My God! And I really mean My God! When I saw that show on VIDEO, I thought I was going to combust!! I knew I had Irish heritage; and boy I just couldn’t get enough. My girls were kindergarten and school age, so any moment I could, I would put on that video and dance my brain out again 🙂 But the magic appeared, when the segment of Flamenco Dancing started up, courtesy of Maria Pages, a beautiful Spanish dancer. I thought I’d died and gone to Heaven. She twisted, turned, stomped, smiled, looked pained and impassioned, all at the same time – and I had finally seen something that resonated so deep within me, it never left. When I was taken to see the show live, my knees wouldn’t stop shaking. Several of us went to the back of the theatre and busted out!
A number of years later, and more trauma to add to the mix, I found myself wanting to seek out proper Flamenco lessons, here in New Zealand. It was nigh on impossible to find, so I allowed a friend to convince me to join her for Belly Dancing lessons. Turns out I wasn’t so good at rolling that belly, but I sure did try. I so appreciate the form and passion for which they dance, but in the end, it just wasn’t me.
More time passed, and I realised through life and experiences, that I had started to distrust my body. I couldn’t dance, even if I wanted too. I longed to move, I longed to feel that fire, passion, creativity and freedom again, but I just couldn’t express it anymore. I live in suburbia, and I just can’t express myself the way I want or need too. I need open air and space, and that eludes me.
I’ve also come to realise that through different traumas that I have walked through, I have completely lost confidence in my body, and indeed feel like trauma is trapped within me. In my imagination, I am stomping my way through a magic dance routine, but my body just can’t seem to do it right now. I’m not sore or in pain, and age shouldn’t be a factor, but in my mind, I just feel so boxed in and caught in a fishbowl existence, I just can’t seem to conjure anything up regarding movement, now.
Interesting that back in 2019 at the Dead Sea, I was dancing down the hallways, dancing down at the Shabbat celebration, and we even got Neil up dancing away, shaking his hips!
I’m praying that as I identify the traumas and the toll they have taken on me, that Abba Father will allow me to dance before Him again.
But on this side of Heaven 😉
The goat track seemed incredibly narrow and full of hoof marks. It didn’t offer the sturdiness of a footpath with any kind of secure railing or steps. No, this track was hewn from many a goat and ensuing animals that had walked carefully up the path towards the peak of the mountain.
Claudine looked at the peak. It beckoned her, called to her in the deepest part of her heart. She pulled her cloak closer, pulled on the hood and took a sip of her water bottle. Her nerves were frayed, tripping and falling all over this track, but in her mind, she focused on the love of The One.
His eyes were flaming fire, his skin as cut diamonds. His face radiated a warmth that could flood the whole universe, and yet He gleaned all that love on her. So broken, so wounded and yet, so whole in His presence.
He looked at her and motioned for Claudine to come closer.
She fell down in front of him, not able to withstand the glory that radiated from him.
His hand touched her and slowly moved down her arm to her hand. He gently lifted her, and she smiled at The One. She glanced at his very eyes, which just a moment before had been like a flaming fire, but this time they were human. They were moist, and a single teardrop fell from His eye. She reached over, and ever so tenderly, without fear, wiped the tear from his face.
‘Claudine,’ said The One, His voice breaking, ‘will you sing for me?’
She looked at him, and without thinking, her voice rose to a note she’d never been able to sing on the planet earth. She took both her hands and tried to cup this giant face within them, and looked straight into his eyes. Her heart was bursting and love was emanating from such a deep place within her that she wondered if this did come from her, or elsewhere?
He wept. He wept more and more. Then silence.
‘Many are called, few are chosen. Even few still want to come and be with me. They want my presence, to a degree. They want to hear my heart, hear my secrets, to a degree. But I have been here since time eternal, and not many have wanted to come and BE with me. Many are so terrified of coming through the dark clouds and seeing me for who I am. And yet, I am always here to welcome my children, every single one of them – if only they would come.’
Claudine looked at The One, and with a heart of deep compassion, she looked intently at him. ‘You are terrifying to me. And yet you are my true comfort. You are lost in the world of religion, fighting, factions, denominations, debate and terror. So many don’t come because they have believed the lies of the enemy of our souls, and they seem to believe that there is a formula that must be heeded to enter into your presence.
I know very little of you. I just know I deeply love you and nothing satisfies my heart more than singing your praises and being your daughter. Papa and daughter. Claudine and Yahweh. Is there anything greater? I don’t think so….’
He looked at her. He smiled, and fractals of light shone through into other dimensions. She startled a little at the bouncing of this light show, and then she and The One laughed and laughed.
‘Will you come again?’ The vulnerability and innocence of Him seemed so out of place, and yet she knew, He of ALL creation was deeply emotive and true.
‘It would be both my honour and my pleasure to come and spend more time with you in this way.’ Claudine stroked his cheek again. How she loved Him so. Not in the ways of earthly love and pleasure, but in the way that her whole being was surrendered to her Creator. There was nothing, not even in her brokenness that she wanted more than to lavish her entire soul upon The One who gave her life, and INDEED saved her life.
It was a paradox. The One who created all of life, gave his only son, and has made a way available to all, he longed for her? His vulnerability, his depth, his kindness – and yet this is the one who judges the earth and directs the stars? How could this be? And yet how could it not be?
Claudine opened her eyes. She was back on the single rocky goat track, but this time her heart was elated! She had met with her Redeemer in the most profound way – what in the stratosphere would happen next?
This is a sneak peek of my upcoming sequel to Mirabelle, called Claudine.
She picks up the golden quill, a mighty theme upon her lips. As she writes the words upon the parchment, she is surprised at the letters forming and flowing so fast. As she utters the sounds of Heaven, all Creation listens: what Decree has the Lord spoken unto His willing Servant and Handmaiden? What mysteries will He expound through her mouth and the quill of her writing instrument?
She stops and waits as she hears the Lover of her Soul, whispering words of passion and grace into her heart. Will she dare write them down, only to be scorned and ridiculed, yet again?
Yes! For her Love has spoken His word into her, and through her this word will become flesh! He has come and dwelt among mere mankind – can you not hear, nor perceive it? Can you not taste and see for indeed, the Lord our God, He is good!
Come to the river and drink of water that you may never thirst again. Come and eat of the bread of life, and behold you will never hunger for mere food again! Come to the waters, replenish your soul. Come to the tree of life and eat – for then your healing shall break forth and your soul shall exalt in the Lord your God!
Come, dance and sing! Lift up your voice! Come magnify the Lord with me! Come, bring your timbres, your harps and your instruments! Come and make a melody, for the Lord is here in our midst!
Come; the Spirit and the Bride, say COME…!!!
The phone rang, I wasn’t going to pick it up. It was 9am and Sammy was just about to start his homeschooling. I then thought I had better do so, as I didn’t recognise the number.
I was in total shock and didn’t quite understand what was being said on the other end of the phone? My ex mother-inlaw had just dropped dead. My daughter’s two grandparents, divorced but amicable, had died in two months.
I spoke with Neil, and realising we live in the ever present world of social media, it was decided I needed to ring both the girls at work and get them home. As if grieving their Poppa (my ex father-inlaw) whom they were both very close too, wasn’t enough, now Nana had made her exit smack bang in the midst of Level Three Lockdown here in the greater Auckland area. There would be no rushing down to be with their father, no being with their relatives. No funeral, no memorial. Nothing. Covid rules need to be obeyed…..
The grief we feel is palpable. I was still very much part of the Hornell family, as is Sammy & Neil; we are a big blended ex inlaw/outlaw bunch who fight and love and have each other’s back at the end of the day. Things are day by day at the moment, but we hold fast to Yeshua, our rock and strong tower.
My last great Aunt died too. Level Four Lockdown. Her daughter is stuck in Australia and can’t come back at the moment. My Aunty Tuppy was like a surrogate Nana to me. In fact she was the younger sister of my Nana, and when my Grandpa died, her and Uncle Fred made a solemn promise to be there for us and be the surrogate grandparents. They did so well in that role. The only thing that bugged me about Aunty Tuppy, was she insisted on calling me Sarndra. I allowed it out of respect, even though my actual given name is Sandra. It was her term of endearment for me, and I understood that.
So yes, three deaths in three months, all in different levels of Covid19 Lockdown.
Poppa Ken, insisted on calling me his ‘Number One girl’, namely because I was the first daughter inlaw. We had the most amazing chats, he was a great conversationalist, who had big dreams, a grumpy temperament and so much untapped potential. He was gruff and hard at times, but never with me. I could get him crying easy! I loved him, and I miss him so much. He would turn up in his beat up old four wheel drive, and just beam with joy when he saw me. His health had given him what for the past decade, but that smile always came out when he was with us. He didn’t believe in God like I do, but he sure did believe in his love for us. He saw things very differently to me, but he taught me a great deal. He had the biggest, bushiest eyebrows I had ever seen! They grew so wide and deep, he longer had to wear sunglasses 🙂 Typical Ken, it was always his way.
Nana May, well she used to scare the daylights out of me! She was a hard taskmaster of a woman, who seemed to live most of her life hiding. Again, I managed to reach in and hear the heart of a woman who had been deeply misunderstood and so incredibly broken. I ended up being the only one who knew she had a heart condition, and that has puzzled me. She had three sons whom she adored, and yet no one but me knew. I found that out the day of her death. Again, so much untapped potential and dreams locked up in a woman who lived mainly alone, later in life, and who didn’t allow people deep into her heart. I guess I am fortunate – for I know some of those precious secrets.
I pulled up the family tree on the MyHeritage website, and with tears streaming down my face (what else is new?!) I put in the three recent death dates.
Ah, this year really has been shite for breakfast, hasn’t it? I don’t think there could be a living soul out there that would say 2020 has been a true blessing from Heaven. No one would believe them if they did. But what I am learning to do is seeing things from both a Heavenly and an earthly perspective. Some areas just aren’t as black and white as we’d like them, but they’re not meant to be. Yeshua reminded us, our Kingdom is invisible, not for this earth, and therefore as my tagline says, we are just Pilgrims passing through. We can’t make this world the be-all and end-all because it’s not. This is just a mere vapour, and one day soon, we will all be with Him, forever. Until then, we must occupy until He comes, and share our Beloved Yeshua with this cold dying world.
So yes, as I said a couple of blogs back, I had been feeling spent, until the Lord showed me the word ‘grief’. There’s no time limit on grief, and I’m not one to walk away from a challenge, so moving through this with the family in tow, is quite the journey indeed.
He sat me down, closed the door, cancelled his appointments for the next hour and asked me one huge question, ‘Sandi, do you still believe in God?’
I looked at him with tears streaming down my face, and quietly uttered the word, ‘yes’.
I did and I do. But I was terrified. Terrified I’d never feel God’s presence again, or hear His voice. What kind of world was I signing up to, taking anti-depressants and walking into a world of counsellors, psychiatrists and psychologists? How did this fit in with my faith, God’s word and everything else I held dear?
The Doctor looked at me as I responded, and said, ‘good, now I know you will be ok.’
He was a Muslim doctor and I was a Christian patient. He was amazing, very humble, very capable, and yet he and his wife were my clients too! I was a Domestic Cleaner and I cleaned their home every week. It was nothing for me to watch the Doctor walk inside, take off his shoes, position his mat and do his prayers.
I didn’t care. I just wanted to know that I wasn’t going mad. Apparently I was having a Emotional Breakdown….
Those words resonated with me, simply because Mental issues were a big deal in my Maternal Grandmother. Mum witnessed Nana have at least one emotional breakdown, and declared that she would never allow herself to become that way – she often would say I was cursed with my own emotions and Nana’s. Funny how it all came to a head when she watched her own Granddaughter have a full psychotic breakdown. Actually it’s not funny at all, but if issues aren’t dealt with in one generation, they will come back in another – and another until they are sorted.
I’ve witnessed a disturbing trend or recent years. People who seem to have it all, or seemingly have a great life etc, suddenly up and commit suicide.
My Doctor asked if I had suicidal thoughts – hell no! I had too much terror to reign on people and too much life to live yet!
But I needed to sort out my mind, and apparently going on Aropax was going to help me do that.
I got a burst of energy for the first twenty four hours, so I went out and dug a vegetable garden at 9pm that night! The rest of the time, it did nothing for me, so after six weeks, I flushed it all down the toilet. People are amazed, simply because here in New Zealand, there had been many cases reported of the withdrawal symptoms from Aropax actually being so bad, and some leading to suicide – but somehow I knew God was with me and that I was gaining inner strength.
The point to all of this is not self pity, or even about me. This is about not being alone. This is about reaching out and sharing your troubles. If that person is unable to help you, there are lots of places to reach out too.
I made one phone call. That lead to an amazing charity called Strengthening Families. These people were brilliant at helping me get sorted through the myriad of mess and emotions that I was dealing with. They helped my children. They helped my friends. And by some amazing stroke of serendipity, I opened the door for this charity to help many others within my community.
So, the long and the short of it is, we are never alone. Every single person on this planet matters to God – despite race, gender, religion or ethnicity – and every single person has the God ordained right to be seen, heard, appreciated and loved.
If you are having Mental issues or need to chat with someone, I encourage you to reach out – and please stop believing the lie that you are alone – it’s simply not true!
With love and much blessing
Content © SparkleMoon Publishing.
One week before we as New Zealanders went into total Lockdown, the Rest Homes and Aged Care facilities made the decision to go into full Lockdown for the sake of their ailing Residents. At the time, we were lead to believe that the Coronavirus, Covid-19 or Sars-Covid-2, was most lethal towards the elderly and infirmed. Unfortunately for our country, this proved to be true. Most of our small cases of deaths, were indeed in the Rest Homes.
Dealing with not seeing Dad was something that I was consciously aware of when our Prime Minister started to make daily addresses to the public regarding Lockdown. Then the day hit when I realised there would be no visiting him at all, and I didn’t get the chance to warn him! However, all was not lost, as I was able to speak to him on the phone, and the home was able to arrange a couple of Skype calls.
Dad was actually quite funny on those Skype calls – he recognised us, but couldn’t understand why our faces were appearing on a computer! The whole conversation lasted three minutes and fifty one seconds.
Yes folks, that enabled me to stop worrying indeed.
When I was able to visit Dad eventually after ten weeks, I had to go through a whole routine of sanitisation, form filling and mask wearing. Dad didn’t even realise it was me until I quickly lifted the mask up so he could see my entire face!
He understood that I wasn’t able to take him out, he actually was more concerned that there were other patients coming up and staring at me, and he was trying to shoo them away J
I have to say, in this instance there was so much unprecedented things happening in our world, but I learnt not to worry about Dad. The staff again, were utterly brilliant and would keep us informed with emails, texts and the occasional photographs of Dad. He was being entertained and kept busy, so that relieved a whole lot of pressure off of me. Phew!
Till next time, be blessed…..Sandi 🙂
With every message that goes unanswered, every email that no one seems to respond to, excuses made and heartache booming in my soul – there you are. For the longest of times, you have stood by me, loved me, helped me, cherished me, made me laugh until I cried and been with me. You believed in me when everyone gave up, you cheered me on when I made the smallest of steps, and now here we are. I cannot remove the pain of the past or the wounds of such terror, but I can be a safe place as you are to me. I can love you, as you have loved me. In the darkest of souls and the deepest of nightmares, I will stand with you as you have stood with me. I adore you. I love you. My sister and trusted confidante. And so I dedicate this poem to you, My Dearest Friend.
Ancient Ruins, 2002
I walked through the ancient ruins today
And saw some ghosts of yesteryear
I looked through the brokenness and found
You were still sitting amongst the mess
Won’t you come my way sweet child?
And walk into the fresh air,
Breathe and let the sun’s rays warm your body
Let the light fill your cold soul.
I wandered around and saw many things
Images I recognised from years gone by
I felt the pain, but it was no longer mine
I let it go, many moons ago
I saw things that could have haunted me
And walked all through the mess
But nothing can touch a heart that is now
Wrapped with grace and armed with forgiveness.
I left the Ancient Ruins today
My heart completely in one piece
I took back my inner child and now – she’s safe again in me.
I wrote a blog once about de-masking and becoming real. Foolishly, I deleted it. I then went on and deleted all of my blogs. I did print out some of them, but The Mask was not among them! There had been much ado about something or rather, and I felt unsafe blogging. Oh the foolish actions of someone who was too scared to stand and face the very truth that she longed to convey. However, after letting go of some people and opinions, I realised it was time to reflect back and write from the heart, once again.
You know, it’s never too late to take a stand and show the world the true you, the one that has all the sags, bags and wrinkles but knows enough to be sure, and enough to remain humble.
I got confused by someone who used to tell me, that to the public, they would wear a mask. It just didn’t sit right with me. There was always conflict with them, it was never plain sailing. Speaking one thing to one person, yet saying something entirely different to someone else. Keeping their cards very close to their chest, and yet demanding an audience and trying to have a perception of authority and wisdom. It never worked for me.
I learnt through some very troubling times, that if you indeed are going to wear a mask, then you had better be prepared for the eventuality that it will be ripped off someday. And you had better pray that the Lord does it gently and privately, so as not to seem like a public spectacle or debarcle.
You see, if one is truly authentic and living in the light of God’s love, there is absolutely no reason at all to wear a mask anymore. Who are you trying to hide from and who are you trying to fool? Those with a sense of discernment and any sense of true perception, are going to see right through it, and if they have enough mettle, they will call you on it too.
There’s something about turning fifty, or even just a few weeks beforehand, that made me question alot about my life and come out from behind my self-imposed mask.
I decided to stop dying my hair. I realised there are just some foods I can no longer eat, even though I like them. I have come to love my stretchmarks, they are my badges of pregnancy and carrying such great blessings. After years of of trying to gain my pre-Sammy body, I’ve come to realise that rounded and larger is good too. I love my wrinkles, they show I have lived. I really adore my laughter lines, because my goodness there is still so much joy to share in! I have come to appreciate my boobs are saggy, but they have fed and nurtured my kiddos. I’ve also come to appreciate that I am going through major hormonal changes (menopause) and the greatest gift I can give (apart from nutrition) is love and kindness towards myself. I have found walking my beloved beach to be such a tonic of healing and health, and I have found my love of dancing again!
There are those who want to label me a worshipper, a prophet, an author, a publisher, a this or a that. But what I know for sure is that I am a Watchman and I call out what I see. I am not popular, I never have been and don’t aspire to be. I am not a great Beauty to the world, but I am to my husband and children. I am not a Rockstar, but I love my singing voice – because these days I have come to appreciate I sing for an audience of One. I don’t have anything to prove with my writing or my blogs, I just write what I sense the Lord telling me too. I feel such great sadness and joy within the same moment, and realise that is how the Lord made me, and I know how to manage those emotions now. I see the world and life very differently to a few years ago, and I’m not afraid to live it.
We live in such unprecedented and tumultuous times, we don’t know where or when the next disaster will be. But we know the One who calms the seas, brings Shalom (peace) to the raging heart; gives us joy for sadness; a song instead of a dirge; provision from Heaven; parts the sea of troubles for us to walk right through; hope for the nations and love for all mankind. His name is Yeshua (Jesus) – He alone is our Salvation, our Rock and the strong tower of our Defense, AND the name above ALL names – including Covid-19! We serve a Mighty God who knows the end from the beginning, who writes OUR names upon His hand, who loves us so completely and delights in us abundantly.
I love this time of life, and have continued to embrace all the changes. There is so much to be thankful for, so much to be excited about and so much yet to do.
But the one thing I know for sure, unequivocably and indeliably – you can’t do any of this from living behind a mask!
This place has fascinated me for years. It’s something of a mystery that was still covered up in the 1920’s with only a few excavations done around then and in the 1930’s. It is currently in the Arab village of Beisan, at the junction of the Jordan River Valley and the Jezreel Valley.
In the Biblical account of the battle of the Israelites against the Philistines in 1 Samuel 31:8-12, the bodies of King Saul and three of his sons were hung on the walls of Beit She’an. In the Roman times this was the leading city of the Decapolis, a league of pagan cities.*
It remained buried for so many centuries, and yet when you see the vastness of it, you are quite shocked! Those Roman columns are extraordinarily tall, and it blows my mind to think that only a few stuck out of the ground, and yet the Arab nomads just farmed their herds here, with no digging or wanting to know what these things were sticking out of the ground! My archaeological mind would have going into overdrive 🙂
When you first enter the Regional Park of Beit She’an, you’re first shown a very large model of how it would have been set out.
If you are lucky enough to have the place to yourself, as we were, then you can all spread out and go where you like. Interestingly, it was the only time that it rained for us: we didn’t mind, even though it was October, it was still mighty warm! After allowing us to take off, our tour guide Hilik, reigned us all back in and started to guide us through this ginormous complex. The vanity sets, the large red columns which seemed almost white until the rain bought out their beauty, the rooms where there would have been steam like saunas, even alcoves carved out so you could go and do your business! This is such a phenominal place.
There also is a very large Roman ampitheatre on which I did burst out in song at the behest of my girlfriend! I just didn’t get good enough shots of the entirety of the theatre, but there are plenty online.
My advice is to not rush through here. The beautiful craftmanship is still abundant here, the detail, the tiles and mosiacs. There is plenty to wonder at here, and I cannot wait to go back and show my children!
Be blessed and I’ll see you soon.