I hope this finds you all well. There certainly seems to be alot going on ‘out there’ in this crazy old world, but we’ve been more concentrated on the ‘in here’ and keeping our noses to the grind.
SparkleMoon Publishing has gone a bit nuts! I’m completely understating it here, but we truly have gone out into the ether now, and our books are slowly but surely, heading out the door. Actually, when ‘Awakening of the Heart’ finally arrived from the printers, we were sold out the next morning! I did not expect that. My prayer has always been, ‘slowly but surely Lord’, however it seems the Lord had other plans.
The new updated version of Mirabelle has come back from the printers, and to be honest, it makes me quite proud. I am no longer the person I was two years ago, sitting wringing her hands desperately worried what others think about the book; I simply stand by every word written. It’s not a stretch to say, I poured myself into this novel, as I most certainly did. However, the Lord has poured so graciously, back into my soul, so that I can continue to write the sequel – and boy have I been having fun with that!
Currently we are not ON Masada, we are IN Masada. There are treasures galore! The new book starts with a battle scene – it’s fair to say though, that writing a battle scene has been a huge stretch for me, but I am pretty happy with how that turned out. I love how the characters are branching out in this second book, and with the addition of some new characters, there are some amazing storylines popping up!
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!
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!
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.
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!
I’m not here to bash our Prime Minister, I believe that she is doing what she can with the knowledge and resources available to her. Nor will I bash our Health Minister, because he again, is being guided by all the statistics, the resources and the information that is given to him at all times during the day. I won’t bash the workers who have relentlessly put themselves out there in the public, dealing with all the confusion of masks, handwashing, sanitisation, social distancing, and taking large pay cuts. I think of those who have lost their jobs and who now are facing an even more uncertain future. I am so mindful of the children, here at home, being homeschooled and trying to be taught by parents and care givers who may not have the experience, expertise or the patience to delve into academia.
But I will address, the New Zealand public.
By and large, I know that most people have tried their best to follow the ads on tv, the things to read on the internet, the messages from the Prime Minister and the Health Minister. I know that a large majority of us have tried to follow the rules, do what’s best and keep safe.
But there are those of us who have been horrible. Those who have blatantly flailed the rules, have gone out of your way to do whatever it is they wanted, when they wanted, and to hell with the rest of us. Those who have walked into the places where my daughters have worked, and have gotten up in their faces, have verbally abused them, have terrified them and have left them shaken. Those who have yelled and abused myself, my husband and my son when we were deemed Essential workers, and had no necessity to do so. We had the paperwork, we followed the protocols set out for us and yet, some felt that from their homes, from behind their fences and just from their front yards, they could just yell whatever they wanted at us. Well they can’t!!
We as parents, made the decision that even though we could have carried on, we won’t work under those pressures, nor allow our son to carry on in those conditions. Now that the level has dropped and the run has resumed, we have still said no.
I can’t count the amount of times that my strong daughters have walked through the door straight into my arms, bawling their eyes out after a shift of non stop abuse. But yet the self entitled ignoramouses think it’s ok to speak to others on the frontline, like they are a piece of dirt. I was more than mortified when it was named that OUR supermarket made the front page of the news for a woman my age punching one of the shop’s Managers. How is this ok? The other supermarket carpark had fights breaking out and brawling, over things that I can’t even remember.
In all my years walking the roads of Aotearoa, New Zealand, I have never been more ashamed and baffled with my fellow brethren. I can’t even begin to look at people the same anymore, because the fact is, we have changed – as a people and as a nation. We have a wonderful aspect to us, being Kiwis; we are renowned worldwide for our kind, caring and laid back nature, our welcoming attitude, but I dare say that has by and large changed now. It’s interesting that if you scratch the surface, what’s been festering underneath sure does come out, and this Lockdown has proved that to us, here at home. The insistance of over the top narcissitic monstrosities who think they are better than the rest of us, and do deserve the right to speak to others like they are dumb animals, well I do declare, that isn’t right!
I wish that this Lockdown had brought about a greater sense of community and unity amongst us, but to alot of us who’ve borne the behaviour of the walking dead, we’ve seen society’s nastiness in full bloom.
There is so much for us to fear, so much misinformation. None of us know who to trust, where to get information that is correct and true, rather than fitting the accepted narrative. There is also much for us to look forward to. But we as a people, we as a nation, we have to do better. We can’t expect to abuse each other and then when the final level of Lockdown ends, think we can just carry on with normal life – normal life has gone now. None of us know who and what, where and how things will be, laws that have quietly been implemented, technologies that have been invented and new rules that have been put forward.
I’m sorry that my honesty may have offended some individuals, but I can no longer sit back and allow people to treat my family and those wonderful Essential Workers nationwide, like utter crap.
Will we do better when the next thing hits?
I pray we do.
When I wrote the above piece, I chose to leave out a very important part — I now have permission to write about it 🙂
Both our girls started to present with symptoms that were congruent with Covid-19. At the insistance of the Manager at one of their workplaces, they both spoke to a Registered Nurse and were told to immediately head for the nearest testing station, in our case, up in Wellsford.
After the initial ‘brain tickle’, the girls had to spend a few days home whilst awaiting the results. I had fortunately bought some high quality Silver Sol, which is more potent than Collodial Silver, and had administered this to them, alongside very high doses of Vitamin C. We then had to lock our gates, put a notice on said gates and quarantine ourselves until the results were in. I’ve never felt such stress in my body before. It wasn’t until the very last morning that I got a handle on it, and by that afternoon we received the results.
To date, this was the hardest part of Lockdown!
So, until next time peoples, stay well and God bless you all <3
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!