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.
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!!
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.
I have sat here these past few days just scratching my head and marveling at what seems a miracle to me 🙏 Since the announcement of our first SparkleMoon Publishing book coming out over on that blog (www.sparklemoonpublishing.net), we have been viewed over 500 times!! That is something a small time Blogger dreams about, and yet here we are. Thank you Lord!
I have spent more hours than I can count, editing and proofreading, working out a new system online, making sure all the vocabulary is in American, as that is how the Author has written it. Dealing with creative types (myself included) has had me in tears, praying for abundant grace and answering dozens of texts! Internet crashes, school holidays, uninstalling and reinstalling the right apps, computer crashes, marketing, advertising, collaboration with my Authors, correcting overseen errors. Where is the time going?
I know. I have absolutely no right to complain, and I am not, not at all. But I am sharing what this crazy life has become of recent weeks.
Saturday night just past, saw me submit all the approved files and covers, to the printing press. Phew! That has been a journey and a half, and it’s not over yet. This I guess is the calm before the storm – but I am enjoying this moment of respite.
These past few weeks have had me learning new ways and pushing myself in ways I didn’t know I could. I’ve learnt so much and realised I am far more capable than I give myself credit for! I’ve also come to realise that I am incredibly hard on myself, and have a high expectation, regarding myself as a Publisher. But that’s not the point. The point is at 50, I finally feel like I am in my element. I love being a wife and mum – nothing compares to that – but there’s something incredibly gratifying about stepping into your calling and stepping up to the plate. It’s either sink or swim, and I am learning to go beyond doggy paddling!!!
In other news: the New Zealand elections are fast approaching us here. Saturday 17 October, will be the deciding factor between life and death. We have two referendums along with out national election: legalizing marijuana; and euthanasia. Personally my views have been God, life, Israel. I’ll stand on that mountain and there I shall stay. But I fear what is coming. Many of my elderly relatives believe in the right to choose when they die – I believe that is God’s choice alone. And I say so. Respectfully of course.
Currently, we are finally back down to Level One here in the open border compound of New Zealand! Yes I’m being sarcastic 🙂 Our borders remain ‘shut’ but they never have been really. We have ‘crushed covid’ a second time, but of course it’s at the borders, just not in the community. Or maybe it is; I’ve had other priorities these past few weeks.
I was able to go and see my Dad two weeks ago, but now they have an outbreak of Gastroenteritis in the home. Thankfully Dad is ok, but the whole compound is on full lockdown/quarantine until things get back under control.
People say that 2020 has been a nightmare of a year; I disagree! I turned 50 back in January, and I was told this was my Jubilee Year, and whilst bad things have happened, the Lord has been so good and magnificent to me. I will write a bit more about that shortly, but in the meantime, as Believers in Yeshua, let’s stop looking to government to fix us, and keep our eyes upward – He IS coming soon. Of this I am most certain.
It’s been a while in the making, but suddenly we are off and starting to push forward in the artistic direction of one of my authors and the first of her series of six books.
What a blast!
Suffice to say that I never dreamt that I would be helping other authors in this magnitude, or that I would be working with family!
Much to my surprise, I am currently working alongside my brother who is a Master in the world of Advertising and Graphic Art. I didn’t know if my suggestion to collaborate would manifest in anything, and yet here we are meeting and chatting about artwork, book covers, marketing, advertising, photoshoots and all things literary!
To that end, I have made a decision that seems to be a natural progression for me: I am going to rebrand and remarket my novel Mirabelle. I am not completely satisfied that the artwork or the blurb were the best design for me, nor was I happy with my Publisher taking out two important pages in the beginning. Having a Publisher over in the UK whilst I am here in NZ, is not ideal. Whilst I was naive, green and eager three years ago when I landed my Publishing deal, I have learnt a great deal since, and am alot less eager to please. My desire to have part of my story out there in fictional form is good, but it should be more than that. The picture of myself on the inside of the book is a far cry from who I am today, and the profile of me is not me at all now! Gosh how my life has changed, and how things have gained more clarity as the years have passed.
I still am ridiculously excited that I get to help others publish their beautiful literary masterpieces, but I also haven’t finished writing mine either.
I am looking forward to the next few weeks and months and all the decisions that have to be made, the work that has to be done, but also holding that precious first book in the series, in my hands!
The last thing I thought I’d mention, is that we are fundraising towards the cost of the artist and the marketing genius. Please check out our page on Givealittle, and see if you would be willing to donate any amount, towards these important outlays.