Living in 2020

Today, of all days, I am so thankful. After many many months of seeing a world flip and flounder over a supposed pandemic, nail biting elections, a break up and a reconciliation, death in the family AND turning 50, 2020 will go down in my diary and blog as the Year of Years!

I have been challenged to the core on what I believe. I have listened to liberals, conservatives, teachings that bore the stuffing out of me, teachings that rouse me, conspiracy theorists, Q movement, theorists on End Times and more things that just aren’t worth mentioning.

I have questioned the deconstruction that has occurred within my theology and wondered where I am headed? I’ve watched people I love totally knot themselves up into a ball and live in a world I just don’t understand, and I’ve watched some dear ones emerge after the longest time, bearing such great fruit.

I love being 50, I love so much that comes with a bit of age, experience and pain. But I didn’t like how I got here!

For the longest time, as much as I love words and writing, I just couldn’t make sense of my inner soul. All the things I have held dear, ways we have done church, doctrines that I thought were truth, all these things were tested and tried in my soul. My walk with God has been fraught with puddles upon damns of tears and snot, mingling down into a mass of unintelligible words and groanings. Yet I knew, as sure as God is on the throne, that I had to take this journey, predominantly on my own.

I stopped listening to everything, and started hearing the Lord speak to me in the darkest of nights, the earliest of mornings and the quiet still times I managed to get during the day. I felt like my anchor had come adrift, and my heart was just everywhere. I didn’t like what I was hearing, but I trusted the Lord, nonetheless.

We – Neil and I, separated and it was the hardest thing stepping back and watching. Wondering five hundred million things all at once that manifested in one thought – “wasn’t I enough”? Wrong question, The Almighty said! The answer was, “you’re an enabler” – the question was “why”? Oh, yes I remember….abandonment. The bane of my existence, the dreams that had come, now all manifested – and God was only just beginning!!

The deconstruction took me to places where every stone was turned over, every belief questioned, every friendship put under the microscope, every relationship analyzed and every thought was looked at. It has been exhausting!

The loss of things that have been part of your make up and the fabric of your soul for thirty years, is quite intense. I wanted to reach out, I wanted to share, I wanted to make that phone call, send that text – but I felt the stern warning of the Lord. This was something between He and I. Period.

Fast forward – Neil and I are the best we have ever been. There is redemption and healing when God’s mercies and truth kiss, at the Cross of Jesus. There is a wonderful embracing of all the flaws, complexities and wonders that marriage brings, and yet God weaves the most beautiful tapestry from our worst and makes it His best. WE are both extremely thankful.

You all know my take on our elections and what I feel about our Prime Minister, but as the anger and despair dissipated, I found I am able to pray for her regularly and sincerely. Wonders never cease! I don’t believe this ‘pandemic’ is going to linger for too much longer – it’s very inception was the greatest deception of the modern era. Combining the Cabal, the Democrats and a willing group within China, you have seen the ONLY thing that could stop President Trump from entering into a second term, seemingly. He will be victorious. Satan has overplayed his hand. The general public in America who were on the fence, wanted someone who would lead them through this supposed pandemic, and Biden was anointed that man. But the Lord will expose and indeed is exposing the deepest of corruption – and Trump already knew. He is one smart cookie!

So, as we near the end of this year, there is much to be thankful for. I will not stand back and wimper at some of the crap that has been thrown my way. I will stand and open my mouth, and I will sing the song of the Redeemed! I will not stay silent, I will declare His praise from the ends of the earth – NZ is pretty much it peoples!!

During this week, after a very long conversation with my Spiritual Ma, I finally got the breakthrough in this whole deconstruction process, that I had been waiting for. Among many many things that have been revealed to me, there came an understanding that I had been denying one of the biggest parts of who I am and what I am called to do! I had allowed the enemy to put me in the back and sit quietly, and be resided to the fact that I will never fully live out my calling as I wasn’t good enough, or enough in general.

Well now…..

This girl is long overdue to move out of THAT cave!!

Shalom and much blessings

Sandi xx

Utterly Unbelievable

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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.

Much blessing

Sandi xx

The Tree

tall tree with leafy branches
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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 and the kids

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

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.

The Mind Goes….

dark darkness loneliness mystery
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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.

Wrong!

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

Sandi 🙂

Content © SparkleMoon Publishing.

My Dearest Friend….

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.

A Sword in the hands of a Mighty Warrior Princess.

Lakota – The Birthday Boy!

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Sammy asked me a while ago to write something for him, so I thought being his birthday, this would be the perfect moment 🎂🥳

I could tell the story of the dreams I had prophesying his coming, or I could tell you all the Angelic activity surrounding his birth.

I could go on and on about what a gift Sammy is to our family, and how much healing the Lord gave us through Sammy’s presence in our life.

I could say I’m amazed at what this wonderful child can do, and even the shortcomings that he has.

Yes, there is so much that I could say.

But from this Mother’s heart, to the heart of this wonderous boy, I simply want to say THANK YOU!

Your life and your unconditional love, have given me a sense of purpose I didn’t know I was missing.

Your heart for humanity and your love for your family is something that warms me constantly.

Your love of the more innocent things whilst most teens are indulging in darker matters, is phenominal to me!

Your ‘collections’ that crowd your floor, your shelves, your cupboards and your wardrobe are a sight to behold!!

Your kindness towards others never ceases to amaze me.

Your knowledge of history and God’s world makes me scratch my head often….😉

And knowing your own mind and having your own voice, especially in this current world we live in, are things that will keep you when times get even weirder.

I love you Sammy. I am proud of you. You are such a gift to me and to your family, and our lives are so much more brighter and filled with wonder, now that you are here.

Lakota Samuel David Wilson – happy birthday our darling teenage boy, we love you!! 🥳‼👍😘🙌🎈🎉🎊🎁

50 and The Mask

a filigree mask

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!

Badge of Honour

I wrote this back in 2004 after having an emotional breakdown.

Whilst raw and questioning, there was always a shard of light from somewhere.

Sandi 🧡💜💛

Sandi poem

Israel Part Five – The Camel Ride!

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Neil and I had a deal:  if there were camels to ride, we’d do it together.  Back in 2013 when we had the option, I was recovering from getting food poisoning at Masada.  Me+Camels=No!  I was dead keen to get on the camels at Genesis Land until I saw Taylor being bucked from here to kingdom come and back again.  Nope!  No camel for me thank you very much.  How rude!  So instead, Neil shared the camel with Paula, and I walked along dodging all the camel poo.  Screeches of laughter were heard, birthday songs to a camel, you could feel the excitement in the air.

I’m such a plonker.  I should have gone on the darn thing….

We spent the better part of the afternoon being entertained by the Genesis Land crew, who were fabulous.  Very entertaining, very knowledgeable, all round great time had by all.  The food, the history, the setting, the costumes and that million dollar view – it’s definitely worth going and partaking of it all.  I can’t wait to go again next time and share all this with my family.

Next we were off in our bulletproof bus to Shiloh.

I didn’t stand and listen to the narrative – too much to see and photograph!  There’d been so much more dug up and uncovered since last year, so I was very keen to get moving and have my own expedition.  It was a pity that we didn’t get to go into the Museum this year, they have amazing artifacts and findings in there.  The movie, I find enjoyable and informative, and to some was deeply moving.  Leaving the theatre and going on the gangplank to see the unearthed urns with the large bowls of burnt raisins was rather spectacular!  Imagine bringing those back to life, lol 🙂  Shiloh, is steeped in deep Spiritual and archaeological history – a must for those of us who have faith.

Next stop – the recently crowned Capital of Israel, Jerusalem.  Such a hoshposh and eclectic array of history, religion, new, old, politics, archaeology and wonder.  The smells, the sounds, the amazing views, the old buildings, the ruins, the bulletholes from the reformation of the Land, the pavingstones, the tales this city could tell of it’s own life.  Jerusalem is not for the faint hearted.  It’s stark, it’s beautiful, it’s bustling and it’s dangerous.  The different religions all squeezed into such a small area.  The narrow roads which double as walkways – hmm, not the best idea there!  And yet this is the very place Our Lord is going to land one day.  My mind boggles at the thought.  Kind of hilarious the Muslims walled up the gate and stuck a graveyard infront of it.  That’s supposed to stop the Lion of Judah??

Back on the road, we encountered Mt Gerizim and Samaria.  Nothing to worry about, just because we are heading to what is called on the news the Westbank, and it’s apparently incredibly dangerous….hey, we’ll be fine!

I was proposed to at the Samaritan’s Museum.  The guy didn’t really measure up to my current husband, mainly due to the fact that he WASN’T my husband!!  What a dick.  Seriously, if they have to import women into the community, maybe submissive (good luck with that) and UNmarried would be a good start?  To be  honest, I was quite shaken by the experience.  But it was actually my own fault.  I foolishly though the dude was a guide in the Museum, and because the Cohen and his utter ‘menstruation fascination’ was driving me insane, I found myself having a nosey around down the back by the models.  Said dude took me around the corner to show me some tiny baby coffins that had been excavated.  Good ploy?  Not so much.  Neil had come looking for me, he knows what I’m like – oooh, pretty shiny and she’s off!  So after a quick prayer, and hand held firmly in grasp, I was good.

Mt Ebal – Joshua’s Altar.  Never shall I forget the image of Phil running downhill past us, chasing after a bunch of schoolboys!  I’d dare say it was the Carlton Beer he bought at the Samaritan Village for eight shekels that kicked in 🙂  His face ruddied red, mischievious grin, loose metal flying everywhere, and us ripping with snorts of laughter.  Oh bless him, he’s a good sort!  It seemed amazing to me all the ruins that lay below the altar, and a Shepherd riding his donkey, herding his goats.  All very normal of course.  Sitting there declaring, ‘as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’  This place is beyond time.  It’s of such importance, I dare not write any more here.

Going down and seeing the uncovered City of David.  Wow.  I took a video basically of me squealing and sent it to some friends and family right then and there.  Some moments you have to catch, otherwise they just fade into the memory bank.  But sometimes you need to record the smells, the sights, the colours, the feeling – praise God for senses.  My favourite Psalm is Psalm 51.  I should imagine that David was somewhere in these uncovered ruins, lamenting of his sin to God.  Begging God not to take the Holy Spirit from him.  Begging for a clean heart.  Yes David and I have much in common….

I cried mercilessly during our visit to the Friends of Zion Museum.  I couldn’t control nor contain myself.  I’ve wondered was it the memory of my Uncle & Grandpa that fought in World War II.  Was it their capture and subsequent incarceration in not only a POW camp, but also a Concentration Camp?  Was it too personal, too real?  Was it having read so many books, based on fact and actual people who lived through it all?  I don’t have the answers.  I know the Zionist movement is huge and not all together based on true scripture, but something of this place moved me.  Make of it what you will.

And then.

The itinerary said we’d have free time.  We grabbed a taxi, went back to the hotel and freshened up, and then thinking we had plenty of time, found our way back.  We actually were a little early, but no, everyone was there!  I must say, the people who plan these itineraries cram far too much in one day. I think that’s why so many of us crash when we get home, or get sick upon our return home. Our bodies and minds have been exposed to such great extremes, and rest doesn’t really happen. The farewell dinner was a supreme disappointment. The food was undercooked and most of us at our table couldn’t finish the meat. I felt ill after dinner, so again we prayed, and I took some probiotics too. Some individuals took off and didn’t say goodbye, so I found their bus, yelled at them and hugged them big! Like you can leave and not say goodbye.  No.

To finish off our last evening, Neil and I spent time with an effervescent young man. Or should I say, we ripped through the hotel trying to find a business card so we could call someone who left their purse on the bus. Or the lady who was worried beyond belief that she didn’t have enough money for tipping so we escorted her up to the ATM machine a few minutes up from the hotel. She hadn’t PIN numbered her credit card (who doesn’t do that?) so she couldn’t withdraw cash. We then crashed in the lounge bar and indulged in the Divine Israeli wine, before heading back to our room one last time.

The morning saw us saying goodbye and farewelling everyone off on the Jordan part of the tour. Most people thought we were going as well, but alas that will suffice for next time. Our time in Jordan five years ago we’ll keep in our hearts until we go back and have a good look, minus the food poisoning or the Jordanian guards trying to make a pass at me!

Well here ends my blog on the Tour of Israel. I have some more personal thoughts and photos that I will share at some stage, but for now, that’s all folks!

Content and photos copyrighted by Sandi Wilson 2019

Stephanui

steph face
Steph in fresh snow, London. Photo by Stephanie Hornell

And so here we are celebrating you, the wonderful glorious young woman Stephanie Dannella Alexandra Hornell!

What a privilege and honour to be your Mumma, to be your friend and rival Unicorn admirer in this life!

I’ve wanted to write about you for the longest time. but I couldn’t find the words.

Today the words found me….

I can’t remember life too much before you, it simply doesn’t seem worthwhile to do so.  You were the prayer most deepest in my heart, the cry of my soul, the longing for the greatest and hardest job ever – Motherhood.  I didn’t want a great career, loads of money or even a husband actually.  All I every truly desired deep in my truest soul, was you.  When I discovered on my 22nd birthday that you were there inside of me, well I think you know I felt, and still feel to this day.  As a person who cherishes words and likes to express them, Steph you left me speechless.

I think most people know you took a VERY long time to arrive (52 hrs peoples!) but when you got here, the rejoicing was endless.  Uncle Tony doing his version of an Indian Rain Dance; Aunty Caroline holding you and smiling deep into your eyes; Nana just dying to get hold of you; Poppa holding you and singing; your Dad just overwhelmed and me……..looking into your dreamy eyes and feeling whole for the first time in my life.  Knowing that I did something right, and you were IT.

I remember that evening, being surrounded by eleven people around my cubicle in the hospital, just mesmerized at this wee baby, and my how you slept.  Six hours straight, and I just didn’t want to sleep because I was so afraid that you were a dream.  That if I woke up, you wouldn’t be there.  And there you were, and here you are now.

I’ve watched you grow up and marvelled at different aspects of your personality as you grew.  Your only dolly that you really loved, you renamed Ashley after your baby cousin, and that dolly is still in this house.  You were more of a matchbox car girl, playing out in the mud and being a racecar driver!  You were certainly far more interested in burning ants outside with a magnifying glass, than being inside and raiding my make up cupboard – that delight went to your sister 😉

I would scratch my head and throw my hands up in the air when you had dismantled something YET AGAIN to see how it worked, and then struggled to put it back together!  That’s been the mainstay in your life – your mind and your inner workings are still such a mystery to me, but I behold that gift with great majesty and wonder.

Then when things like puberty hit and your body started changing, that was such a hard time for you.  Horrible comments from family members about weight etc, they were arrows in your gentle sensitive soul.  The nastiness of some around you have weighed heavily on you, but somehow you manage to rise above it and still remain so beautiful, whilst I’m wanting to lop off their heads and tell them to sod off!  You have known great rejection and abandonment in your life, yet I’ve never seen you reject a single soul.

Loyalty and faithfulness are big for you, and I so deeply apologise that others have not honoured that within you.  I again, have stood by and marvelled at how others could treat you so badly and then smile at your face 🙁  I only know that in time, they will reap what they have sown, and that their own pain has clouded their own beautiful souls.

I have witnessed your unconditional love towards your siblings – all of them – and your love runs so deep, you had their initials tattooed on your wrist.  I didn’t understand at the time, but I do now, and that you did that to physically show your love towards them blesses me immensely.  Your Mumma is so proud darling <3

Your head wobble thing you do, your sass, your individuality and knowing who you are deep inside – these are things that I couldn’t teach you, they are what life has taught you.  Your humour and quick wit are still a wonder to behold – who knew I would birth a frecken comedian?!

You bring so much love, so  much goodness to our world, and I’m so blessed to have been the one to raise you.  I don’t take my job as your Mother lightly, I never will.  You were the greatest gift I had ever received and every day I am so grateful you are here.  Your being, your soul, your heart, your talents, your goodness, your grace – they bless this world and we are surely all much better individuals for knowing and loving you.

My girl – my first True Love, I honour you today with all that I have, and thank God for the woman you are:  Stephanie Hornell.

xxx