Well, here we are still in some kind of lockdown – in my case, Level three. I think it’s day 63, but don’t quote me!!
We’ve been keeping in touch with Dad via phone and Skype. He is so delightful!! He’s been wearing a cap that isn’t his, but he’s just so darn proud of it 🤣😄 Funny thinking my Dad goes ‘shopping’ in his own ward!
We sing Frank Sinatra songs, I reintroduce him to my husband and children, and he tells me what he’s currently eating. When I tell him he is my father and I am his daughter, that means nothing to him. He smiles. It’s ok, we’re used to that. He thought being a Poppa was a hoot – albeit he has no frame of reference for that either…
Having spoken with his doctor, I was surprised to hear that Dad has been the happiest he’s been in years. He’s joining in with activities, he’s put on weight, and he’s just had his vaccination. A far cry from the man who was rushed to hospital just three months ago. It’s all a bit odd really 🤔
In navigating the highs and lows of yet another lockdown, I for one am so darn thankful that Dad is safe and healthy – and I look forward to my next Skype with him.
I took the month of September to draw aside and seek wisdom as to where we are going and what we are doing next. I felt discontent in my heart over many things, especially the publishing business. Somewhere along the way, it ceased being a joy, and became a drudge. There are a few reasons for this, but mainly one that is glaringly obvious – I am NOT cut out to be a publisher for other people. I am NOT a business savy person, or someone who likes networking. I did all I set out to do, and I am proud of what I’ve achieved, but I must lay that hat down and move on to the next adventure.
As I am writing this, we in the Auckland area, are still in level three lockdown. We can go outside and exercise, we can go to the petrol station and supermarket, but that is our lot. Having homeschooled Sammy for over a month now, and having no time to myself, I am spent.
The night that we went into lockdown, was Mum’s 80th birthday. We had a lovely dinner cooking, decorations up and were excited to help her ring her this new decade – until. I had been warned by the Lord two weeks prior that it was coming – but not tonight, not on Mum’s birthday!! I went outside and shouted as loud as I could, then came inside and poured us another wine. Hmmm.
The next day, Mum and I came down with the worst cold that either us have had in probably a decade. I was in bed for five days, and Neil took over running the house. Interestingly, I tried speaking to people during that five days on the phone, but all my words were garbled and non-sensical. However, the Lord got my attention. As is his way, he’d given me a dream a couple of months prior, which I had shared with a handful of people; but they’d all interpreted it incorrectly. I knew instinctively what was required of me, but I hesitated. Whilst laying in bed and enquiring of the Lord, I knew it was time to surrender.
Someone asked me, ‘what next?’ In truth, I am enjoying being a homemaker, sowing my summer garden, doing alot of baking and cooking for the family, and taking care of my own. I don’t need a name out there, I don’t desire fame or fortune. I desire to be obedient to my Lord and do his will – it’s really that simple. How that takes shape, is his business and he will let me know!
So in the meantime, thanks to all of you who have encouraged me in this publishing journey, and have supported the work I have done.
I was sitting thinking about many things that have transpired lately, and then suddenly I remembered the beginnings of this journey, and why I started this blog. Today is the seventh anniversary of this little journey….!
I never had the intention of writing for anyone, or to anyone. That the Lord sees my words and knows my heart, is a no-brainer. I wrote originally, to allow myself the space to process, grieve and make peace with some harrowing events that happened upon myself and my family.
That was back in late (our Spring) 2014. I wrote about my daughters, Stephanie and Julianna both leaving home within the space of ten days. I wrote about Julianna’s pyschotic breakdown. I wrote about Dad’s entry into the world of Dementia and the journey I took with him. I wrote poetry, and about my relationship with the Yeshua, and of course, I wrote about my beloved Israel. All of this I did openly, without apology and without shame.
Now, what a terribly different story. Because I am an author, there is an expectation. Now, I am supposedly writing as I apparently have an audience. I write because I am supposed to. I write because I feel obligated too. I am apparently meant to keep people up to date with the goings on surrounding our publishing business and the like. Why? Even typing those words in italics, makes me cringe. Who cares if I’m an author, who cares if we have a publishing business? I am in reality, just Sandi – isn’t that enough?
The pressure I feel to release something – anything actually, is palpable. Yes, I have followers, and yes I do have some kind of small influence (mainly on Instagram), but I never asked for or wanted that. I wanted the freedom of expression. A place where I could share the joys and sorrows of this human existence, wrapped in the tendrils of faith, hope and love.
What I want, is to be able to freely share my heart on here, and release it into the ether, if I so choose.
So today, I choose. Today, I just want to express some of what I am facing and sensing, and to do that without judgement or fear.
I have so many threads running through my mind – which one do I pull upon?
So many dreams that hurtle to the ground at a resounding force of violence and ferocity. How do I proceed?
A heart pounding, beating for the ONE and yet so entrenched in the myre and clay that surrounds me. Of whom do I seek? Flesh and bone; spirit and life?
Insults, injuries, sickness devours my mortal soul. Wounds gaping and screaming to be heard, but nonetheless no voice to voice the pain or roar as the lioness I am.
Demons come and choke at my throat causing my breath to skip a beat, and words to be gurgled in the darkness. Breathing becomes shallow as rasps shudder my body and heave from my exhausted mouth.
I see you. You accusing spirit, I hear your words, but will not allow them to take hold. I blame no one. Words are spoken, opinions given, but it is not my desire to take offense – you cannot make me, accuser, even though they tantalize generously.
I rest. I pray. I give my burdens up and onto the Hands of Grace. I sleep.
Fitting dreams of lands I do not know. But we are there. Helping those in need, offering solace and practicalities to those pilgrims running for their lives. I see a great city fall. A nation besieged. A terror group overtakes another nation and causes great war.
My dreams exhaust me…
Opinions, opinions, opinions everywhere. Clawing at me, beseeching me to listen to yet another great fear wrapped up in another person’s lie. I shall not succumb. Truth is weighed up against the collective opinion, and is left wanting. I need only THE truth.
We pit one against another. We no longer walk in love and grace. Us against them. Me against you. The world has gone made. Good is now evil, evil reigns supreme in the hearts and minds in the citizens of this world.
Wonder – where have you gone? Wonder of all that is good, beautiful, true and lovely. I hear the distant sound of Louis singing about this ‘wonderful world’ but somehow it seems a bittersweet memory?
The threads are interwoven, they speak all so loudly, clamouring for my attention immediately. But I will not give over to the balls of messy threads, the odd lengths, the knots and ties, the unevenness of the mat, nor the colours bleeding into one.
I choose to look instead, at the Tapestry being woven throughout this life, and marvel at the beauty that comes from pain, devastation, love and truth.
The marvel that is Yeshua living in and through me.
Galatians 2:20 TLV. “And it is no longer I who live, but Messiah lives in me. And the life I now live in the body, I live by trusting in Ben-Elohim—who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
It’s been a while since I blogged and there sure is lots to catch up on!
I went down to Cambridge and spoke at a women’s meeting, which was lovely. It did something within me I wasn’t expecting – reuniting with a side of myself I’d left down there nearly twelve years ago. But also, it was wonderful driving through and reacquainting myself with the town that stole my heart back in 1999. This was a place I never thought I would leave, and a people who walked with me through my days of being a single mum. Very special and priceless memories – but oh boy, has life changed!
Dad was rushed to hospital after collapsing for the second time in three weeks, and that whole process was rather daunting. Spending ten hours in ED with your brother, husband and a father with dementia, who didn’t understand what was going on, that was something real indeed. Seeing dad so feeble and weak, laying there trying to sleep and yet opening his eyes, because he’s a people watcher and didn’t want to miss a thing; funny man 🙂 We still don’t know what caused the collapse, but I hazard a guess they may become more frequent. We celebrated his 82nd birthday, his heart is still strong, so who knows?
I’ve been finding such joy in writing my sequel to Mirabelle. Claudine starts right where Mirabelle ended, and takes on a new character, who has suffered a full psychotic breakdown. Loosely based on true events, Claudine becomes acquainted with Yeshua and is taken on many journeys within the spirit realm, helping to uncover the roots and the causes of said breakdown. Amongst all this time travelling, Mirabelle is on a grand adventure leading The Army alongside Joan of Arc, and other wonderful people from the first novel. Of course, as is my style, there are adventures to be had within the nation of Israel which tie into the storyline, so some of you (bearing different names) could be popping up shortly – fun times peoples!
For those who have been head down and busy with life, you may not know that New Zealand is in full level four lockdown again. Delta has shot over here into the community, and whilst I disagree with most things our PM says, I do agree with full lockdowns. I would even go so far as to say, I enjoy them! But in all honesty, as an ‘Aucklander’, it has become old hat, this being our fifth lockdown. My father’s home in the past 18 months, has endured EIGHT lockdowns, three of those for other things not covid related. So, this has become part of the NZ psyche now, and to be honest, it’s not all bad. Even good old PM of the UK admitted, ‘it’s not the vaccinations that are working, as much as it is, the lockdowns.’ Whilst you’re free to disagree, we still have lost under 30 individuals due to covid, so that speaks volumes really.
During this lockdown, I have been the sickest I’ve been, in the past decade. I’d like to take my proverbial hat off to my husband, who stepped into my role without a blink, and MADE me stay in bed for days! It’s not been easy being the patient, but it certainly has given me time to think and to reflect. I’ve been so busy being busy, I haven’t made time for the important things that I’ve been carrying for many years now. I’m definitely at a crossroads, and looking to a future that looks different to the current reality I am living. This doesn’t scare me, it excites me! How I long for more adventure, more mystery, more travel and times spent with my Beloved husband and kids discovering new things. Many months spent in this chair makes me realise, I’m not created to spend many more months sitting in this chair!
Well friends, I hope that wherever you are, you are well and enjoying life.
I have had the most intensive, remarkable, gorgeous, stunningly beautiful weeks, here in this new office space. I knew I was about to enter a new season, and I knew I needed to be surrounded by a lighter atmosphere that would help inspire a deeper sense of creativity, but I never envisioned THIS.
“What is THIS,” I hear you asking? Quietly and ever so shyly, I can only say, “Him.“
The One. Yeshua. Lover of my soul. Keeper of my heart. Him. Divine truth. Divine creativity. Playfulness. Beauty. All that is Good. All that is Holy. Abba Father. Holy Spirit – Ruach HaKodesh. Him. The I AM. Him.
The One my soul has longed for and not experienced, in the longest of times. And yet, He chose this time to meet me and adorn me in His loving Grace. Yes, Him…..
Those of you who knew me pre 2011, would have remember how different life was back then, for me. You would remember someone who lived in two very different worlds, and who had two very different lives.
One world was where I existed with Yeshua. In divine intimacy. A student of love, of the Word, of mysteries and wonder. Someone whom had been romanced, courted and taken into a world that was so extravagant and other-wordly; one can’t describe in terms magnificent enough, all that Yeshua shared with me.
The other world, was this one. Tough, mean and brutal. Always struggling to make ends meet. Failing dismally at being the woman of God I thought I was supposed to be. Pressure; never ending cycles of poverty, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Alongside uprooting me from the place I thought I would be forever, and away from my spiritual parents and home church; this world was hard. Living up here in Snells Beach (in the beginning) was like mourning every day. The wonder, the exuberance, the love of life and the peace I encountered, were all gone. It was just me and my three kids. Until. Until a man came along and swept me into a world of dreams that were foreign to me. It was all so wonderful, but where was Yeshua now?
My deepest desires had come true. My hearts cry and been heard by my Abba, and here was the man I was destined to be with – although our path has been fraught with trials and tribulations that many wouldn’t cope with, we found our way, together and with the Lord.
I sit here now, elated and yet wounded. Deep sobs have wracked my body for weeks now. A repentance that is so soul shattering, and yet in the shards and fractals of light, I am experiencing Yeshua again, outside of time and space, and in the arms of an ever loving Abba.
How did I get it all so wrong? How did I go from the deepest of intimacy, from hours spent in His word, to dealing with mental illness, dementia, autism, dyspraxia, anxiety, marriage, separation, illness, fatigue and simple exhaustion?
Where was HE in all of this?
That’s the joy in this great tale – HE was always here, beckoning me, calling me. Giving me dreams in the deep of night, giving me hope in the early morning shards of light that would fall upon my face. He was here speaking through His word still, calling me through creation. The kereru that would fly over and sit upon the palm tree, so I could watch in wonder. The miracle of seeing a butterfly EVERY DAY for two years. The tui that come to our tree, and sing with their two voice boxes. The love of three beautiful children who have filled this house with untold hours of joy, raucous laughter, magic and delight. The husband who delights in me, who speaks so much love into my soul, who cares for me so tenderly. Yes, I am blessed and I know He has been speaking.
But until recently, it had been through others, and not face to face like it used to be.
And now? Now when I sit in my yellow chair, His presence comes and I am undone with wonder. I joy in Him. I delight in Him. I minister to Him, as I was created to do, and I worship Him in spirit and in truth. I meet with Abba and ask Him what very few do, “How is YOUR heart Abba? How can I minister to you today?”
“Take me past the outer courts Into the Holy place Past the brazen altar Lord I want to see your face Pass me by the crowds of people The priests who sing your praise I hunger and thirst for your righteousness And it’s only found one place
Take me in to the Holy of Holies Take me in by the blood of the Lamb Take me in to the Holy of Holies Take the coal, cleanse my lips, here I am Take the coal, cleanse my lips, here I am.”
I know a tiny snippet of where this journey is taking me, however I also realise that it is different to times in the past. Imprinted on my heart and mind are the magnificent verses from Isaiah, that I am now starting to live. Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it spring up; do you not perceive it?”
He is SO good. So very, very good.
Him. My everlasting love. Ishi. My beloved kinsmen redeemer. Him.
I was just sitting in the back of the car while Neil drove, Dad sat in the front, singing his heart out to Frank Sinatra. I was remembering. Times spent with Dad, in the home and the trips that we frequently take him on.
One such time, we went to Waiwera, and found ourselves in an area that was not too familiar with me. It was along a single road, on the beachfront, but in an area that was quite private. We parked the car, and I helped Dad out. It was a lovely sunny day, so we ventured onto the beach, however, Dad seemed a bit unstable, so I held his hand to steady him.
It was odd. I hadn’t held Dad’s hand like that, since I was sixteen years old. One remembers these things. The moments when subtle little changes become the norm, and holding hands with your father was no longer the ‘done’ thing.
But on this particular day, he needed me. And I was there. I guess the little girl in me, needed him in that moment too. It didn’t last long, but it was just us, just a special moment in our collective history, that will always remain with me.
Walking through the home, alongside Neil, I held Dad’s hand again today. He was a little nervous, as we had to walk a different way than usual, but he gripped my hand as I led him through the maze of hallways.
He can’t think of much to say at the moment, but he does remark time and again, how much he enjoys Neil and I! It’s lovely. His shock of hair standing on end, his teeth seemed to have moved and he’s developed a lisp now. His hands, like my Nana’s, are bony and slender. His appetite seems to have returned, which is a big relief!
It is the first day of winter, here in New Zealand, June 1.
I am sitting in my new office, quite mesmerized by a scene I have looked at a thousand times, but has new meaning for me today.
Today also is the day, that Jo’s second book in her series, Journeys of the Heart, is released. It’s a page turner that had me quite heated up several times, and had me wiping my glasses even as I edited it!!
Today is also the day that my two published books are featured in a nationwide catalogue, that goes to all the Christian retailers around our nation. That has been quite the surprise!
But also today, I was asked something that really struck me: how is your heart?
The mere thought that anyone would ask me that, is Heaven on earth to me! I am such a passionate heart girl, that is indeed where I meet with Abba and Yeshua, and yet it’s a question that we as the body of Christ, very rarely ask each other.
So today is beautiful. Not because good things are happening, because actually, behind the scenes, things are mad – but today is a good day, because it is crowned with loving kindness and tender mercies.
Lately, between moments of calm solitude and the crazy spasms of publisher frenzy, I have found myself reflecting on when I met this colourful bunch of Americans, two years ago.
Never had I heard GOD called so many different names! Jah, Yahweh, Lord, HaShem, God, Jesus, Yeshua, Adonai and others I can’t recount. I was so confused, and so in my mounting frustration, on top of Mt Carmel, I entered the beautiful chapel and sat down.
In the presence of The One, I cried in desperation, “who are you, Lord?” Immediately, I heard the response, “I AM.” I was undone, completely. As I sat in that moment, while the rest of the group were above me admiring the view and hearing all about Elijah and the Prophets, I wept.
Flick back to today, and I still hear God being called all manner of things. But the reality is, Jesus/Yeshua told us how to pray and WHO to: our Father, in Heaven. Abba. Papa. Daddy.
It really is simple. And yet, as typically present within the western church, we have made things so difficult! But it’s not. He is our daddy, and we are His children, so therefore we need to esteem Him as such.
I also know and have witnessed, people being very hesitant to call God, “Father” and this is a point of contention and pain, that I deeply understand. As much as I love, honour and respect my own dad, he wasn’t the most kind or loving father, growing up. He was incredibly critical of my appearance, my singing, my poetry and “me” just in general. When I truly encountered the Father’s heart towards me, back in mid nineties and then again in 2011, something changed on the inside of me. I have never questioned His love or thoughts toward me again, and it is my greatest joy, to release that through my life and creativity, into other people’s lives.
Read Ephesians 1 & 2, and read them in different versions. Our Father, utterly and entirely LOVES YOU!
I knew walking into the theatre, that I was setting myself up for an abundance of emotion and tears. And I wasn’t wrong. But it turns out, they weren’t mine. Well, not till the last five minutes, and then I felt myself crack.
To my left was a young couple, who found the content too much, and left part way through the movie, utterly sobbing. With all of the best intentions, I wanted to go to that young lady and tell her it was ok, that she wasn’t alone. I wanted to give her a hug and tell her I completely understand; but I actually don’t.
You see, for each of us who are the child of a Dementia sufferer, there are coping mechanisms we have formed; there are emotions we won’t show; there are areas where our experiential expertise don’t cover. And therefore, whilst we should have empathy and compassion for all concerned, we shouldn’t go butting our imposter noses into other’s suffering. We need to be invited into the suffering, then offer ourselves to the one hurting.
The movie, ‘The Father’ is a brilliant portrayal of a Dementia sufferer, through his own eyes. I clicked onto that notion with a couple of scenes at the beginning of the movie. As the storyline unfolded, evidence of my own Dad, came raring to the forefront, and I was left feeling somewhat vindicated.
The non stop comparisons. The nit picking. The angry outbursts of swearing and cursing. The silent treatment. The endless demands. The accusations of being up to no good. These are all things that my Dad heaped on me, time and time again. Fortunately I have a wonderful husband, great brothers and a mother with the patience of a Saint – although since long divorced from my Dad – still a loving friend and a great listening ear for me.
If any of you are either curious, or have a loved one battling Dementia or Alzheimer’s, then I thoroughly encourage you to go and see this movie. It helps tremendously. It gives such a compelling insight into the mind of a former intellect, who now is at the mercy of this dreaded affliction. Anthony Hopkins gives a stellar performance, bringing all the pain, emotion and frustration right towards you.
I walked into Dad’s Dementia unit the other day, and there he was, sitting having a cup of tea and biscuits. His hair sticking up like a scarecrow, runny nose and scruffy jumper aside, the smile that greets you, is immense. He’s like a kid in a candy store, and he knows he’s about to have a lot of candy! Always the question, ‘are we going out now for something to eat then a drive up north?’ Always, a kiss and hug and the words, ‘you’re the best thing in the world.’ Of course I am; I’m the Sugar Fairy and Taxi operator! 🙂
Coming back from our afternoon excursion, I was shocked to see a formerly vibrant and active resident, now needing a carer on both sides, to assist her walking. Colleen, was a gummy bear, who refused to wear her teeth; could swear like a trooper; and propositioned my husband on our first day there, asking him to meet her in the laundry afterwards! She loved dancing, and could flirt up a storm; if only in her own mind. It was nothing for her to stroke my arm and do a little jig with me, then start weeping. On the flipside, she could spot me across the room and start marching towards yelling expletives, and promising to ‘get me!’
My heart is saddened, for I know the day will come when my Dad will need that kind of help too.
In the meantime, when he sits in the café with us, his latest fixation is on the ‘fire exit’ sign, alongside the ‘toilets’ sign. His most recent revelation? Toilets are where you go poos and wees!!