Interview with Author J. L. Dawson

Hello Peoples!

I got Jo to answer a few questions, so go ahead and check out the article below: 

Author J. L. Dawson

From Idea to Reality

What a process, writing a book! I never knew I had it in me. When I finally held the finished book in my hand it was a surreal feeling. The process had felt long, but in reality from start to finish it was relatively fast. I couldn’t believe I had done it, a real book; a bona fide book I could show to people with my name on it! Of course in reality it was a team effort. My friend Sandi, my publisher, worked tirelessly; I have no idea how many hours she put into making my dream happen. I really don’t even know the process because she took on the lion’s share of making it happen. I feel blessed that I can just write. 

            Every step of the process I doubted myself, I really believed my story wasn’t that good and wouldn’t really sell. The fact is, I started writing it about twelve years ago and shelved it after nine chapters, because I just didn’t think It was good enough. Then to have a friend read it and beg for more and more until the book became a series, was quite something. I never expected it and when I started writing it all those years ago, I never really thought it would happen.

            I remember seeing the cover art for the book; the final copy and pinning it up on my pin board. I’d look at it every day and it felt so unreal! This was mine, I had done this. The talent of the graphic designer was amazing too. That he caught my vision was remarkable; it turned out so much better than I ever thought it would!

            I’m immensely thankful to the people who made it happen for me – my publisher, the graphic designer, people who’ve read and edited my stories. I never would have got it past my computer had it not been for them. I love just being able to focus on the writing.

            Many people have asked me how I come up with ideas or how I get the story to flow but I really am not sure of the answer? For me, it started with the character Abigail. She lived in my head for a few years before I put anything on page, it was like the story grew around her. I would sit at my keyboard and just put myself into Abigail’s mindset then the words would tumble out. I would dream about her and the things that happened to her.

            I read widely in the genre I write in and I’ve watched many tv shows and movies too set in the same kind of era. I feel like I’m familiar with it, despite being in another country and time. Sometimes I feel like I know the 19th Century better than my own.  The struggle I find is really what to leave out of the story; sometimes I wake up and think ‘no my character wouldn’t have said that or done that’ and I go and correct it. I’ve so loved developing characters, especially my feisty heroines! Some are based on people I’ve encountered in my life, and some are entirely fictional, but I feel like they’ve become friends and family to me in some ways. When I finished writing about the Collins family, I felt like I’d lost family. I’ve decided I’ll write more about them, their legacy is so real to me now.

            I’ve started a second series based on a Mountie and his life, learning to juggle between his duty and his commitment to family. It’s called “Twixt Duty and Love.” It looks like it will be three books at this stage. Watch this space! 

            I have a few other stories floating around in my head that hopefully I’ll get onto the screen at some point. I don’t have as much time to write as I’d like, some days I wish I could insert a flash drive into my brain and download all the ideas!!

            Has writing a book changed me? Yes! It’s an exciting and humbling experience, it has helped me to believe in myself. Having people tell me they like my story has been incredible, people can relate to the characters and all the things they face. It may be set in the 19th century, but all those situations are still faced today. Woven through the first book is a lot of my own story and that’s made me feel quite vulnerable at times, putting my heart out there on the page and running the risk of people poking holes in it. I’ve been hugely surprised though at who has been touched by it.

            I get to fill in the ‘occupation’ box on forms with ‘author’ now and it’s very surreal, but I’m hooked! I love to write now and the stories just seem to grow. I usually have a start point, an end point, a main character and a title when I begin and it just grows from there into something, even I find extraordinary.  It’s a God-given talent, it can’t be anything else. He gives me the words that I hope will encourage and inspire others to persevere and hold onto hope in life, no matter what it throws at you.

            I look forward to book two coming soon and I hope my readers love them as much as I do!!

The One – A Sneak Peak of ‘Claudine’

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.

SMP COMPETITION!

Hey Everyone!

Just wanted to let you know, we are running a competition on both our Instagram page, and Facebook page, to win all five books from SMP!

No need to do anything too strenuous – just like our page/s and tag someone else.

Free shipping worldwide to those entrants from outside New Zealand.

Ends 10 March 2021.

Winners notified by either DM or Messenger.

Here’s the links for you:

http://www.facebook.com/sparklemoon-publishing

http://www.instagram.com/sparklemoonpublishing

SparkleMoon Update

Hello friends

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!

If any of you are interested, we are on Facebook only as a company page. Here is the link:
https://www.facebook.com/SparkleMoon-Publishing-105293494578984

Also, here is our company Instagram if interested:
https://www.instagram.com/sparklemoonpublishing/

If you are interested in following along with the happenings at SparkleMoon Publishing, feel free to follow or subscribe to our website at:
https://sparklemoonpublishing.net/

Mirabelle Revised by Sandi Wilson
Awakening of the Heart by J.L. Dawson
From Tears to Triumph Devotional by Sharmaine Dobson
George’s World – Where is my Dad? by Sharmaine Dobson
My Way – A Daughter’s Journey into the World of Dementia by Sandi Wilson

These are the books that are currently stocked, and all their details and blurbs are on the SMP website.

Anyhu, just thought you might like to see what we are up too!

Currently, we are trying to master the marketing side of publishing – my goodness what a wild ride that is 😉

In the meantime, take care and be blessed wherever you are in the world. Stand strong, the battle belongs to the Lord!

Sandi 🙂

A Sneak Peek….

So I thought I’d be really smart and privatize this site just so that you guys could have the first look at my secret project – but that didn’t work! It turned out that you had to login or register via email, and that caused some issues, by some of the language I could hear in the other room!

Well, before I go ahead and do my reveal, I just wanted to give you a background on who Mirabelle is and why this book is important to me.

Mirabelle is based on a woman who was a dear friend for many years. She underwent most of her cancer journey before I met her, and over the course of getting to know her, the story she shared really impacted me.

I didn’t know many people who have had significant body parts removed in order for them to survive, but she is one of them. A large softball size tumour was discovered inside her that encompassed her bladder, bowel and internal genitalia. She had to have all three reconstructed over the period of a few years, and still to this day she doesn’t function fully. But you would never know. You wouldn’t know that her bladder is made from pigskin. You wouldn’t know that her bowel is made from some of her large intestine. You wouldn’t know that her internal genitalia were the last thing to be constructed, and she went without those organs for eighteen months.

So yes, to me she is one of the most inspirational women I have ever had the good fortune to meet.

Unfortunately, our friendship went south not long after I got married. My dear friend is someone who has an incredibly stubborn streak and if you seemingly wrong her, she cuts you off in the most powerful way. You don’t even know, she won’t even tell you, but slowly and surely, she backs off, like she did to me. And she will hurt you on purpose. Because so far, she has been able too.

It took me nine months to process the demise of this once incredibly close relationship. I’d never had a friend where things were shared so openly and honestly, so brutally and with so much humour! We were a dynamic duo when we went anywhere, and behaving wasn’t something that either of us thought to do 🙂 Going to Israel with her and with Neil was fantastic; I did feel sorry for the Tour Guide though – I don’t think he’s ever met a duo like us!

In amongst the pain, the despair I felt and the anger that would rise in wave upon wave, the Lord came to me one morning and gave me such love for this friend. Ex friend. I never call her that, but I guess that is what I am to her now. She has this book, and my guess is that she’s darn angry with me, but as I said to her, what started out writing about her, turned into a greater story that the Father wouldn’t let me leave alone.

I know that she loves Yeshua incredibly deeply, and I know one day we will reconcile. I also know that it will be different.

The character of Alex is based on me. It was with fear and trepidation that I wrote so much of my own personal story within these pages. To bare my soul so openly, I did query the Lord on this? But sometimes in order for others to heal, they need to know that some have been through the same thing. They need to know that they can reach out and touch someone who is similar to them. I know I am just a chick from Snells Beach, New Zealand, but God sees me differently to others.

When Mirabelle was released just over two years ago, we had just come back from a disastrous trip to Israel, and I was suffering from depression. I wasn’t in the right place to own this novel, or to accept the path that the Lord was leading me down, but somehow it seems right to do so now.

So, with all that background in mind, I am so pleased to show you the new cover that my brother (a 100+ Award winning Creative Director) has designed for when we re-release Mirabelle back out into the public!

We are currently working to get me out of my old contract with the Publisher in London, so that soon I can release this on our own logo.

Well, there you have it!

Until next time

Shalom
Sandi 🙂

Utterly Unbelievable

Photo by Jess Bailey Designs on Pexels.com

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

Three Minutes Fifty One.

My first visit with Dad in ten weeks.

One week before we as New Zealanders went into total Lockdown, the Rest Homes and Aged Care facilities made the decision to go into full Lockdown for the sake of their ailing Residents.  At the time, we were lead to believe that the Coronavirus, Covid-19 or Sars-Covid-2, was most lethal towards the elderly and infirmed.  Unfortunately for our country, this proved to be true.  Most of our small cases of deaths, were indeed in the Rest Homes.

Dealing with not seeing Dad was something that I was consciously aware of when our Prime Minister started to make daily addresses to the public regarding Lockdown.  Then the day hit when I realised there would be no visiting him at all, and I didn’t get the chance to warn him!  However, all was not lost, as I was able to speak to him on the phone, and the home was able to arrange a couple of Skype calls.

Dad was actually quite funny on those Skype calls – he recognised us, but couldn’t understand why our faces were appearing on a computer!  The whole conversation lasted three minutes and fifty one seconds. 

Yes folks, that enabled me to stop worrying indeed.

When I was able to visit Dad eventually after ten weeks, I had to go through a whole routine of sanitisation, form filling and mask wearing.  Dad didn’t even realise it was me until I quickly lifted the mask up so he could see my entire face!

He understood that I wasn’t able to take him out, he actually was more concerned that there were other patients coming up and staring at me, and he was trying to shoo them away J

I have to say, in this instance there was so much unprecedented things happening in our world, but I learnt not to worry about Dad.  The staff again, were utterly brilliant and would keep us informed with emails, texts and the occasional photographs of Dad.  He was being entertained and kept busy, so that relieved a whole lot of pressure off of me.  Phew!

Till next time, be blessed…..Sandi 🙂

SparkleMoon Arising….!

Check out our website http://www.sparklemoonpublishing.net for more details.

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.

https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/helping-nz-authors-be-published

Till next time Dear Ones, be blessed and keep on rocking!

Sandi

Qumran and The Treasure?

Qumran.  En Gedi.  The Dead Sea.  Masada.  All places that I adore, and love visiting whilst in Israel.  Each one of these places seems to call to me, and whilst I appreciate the historical and the Biblical relevance, it seems like there is something more that I am feeling, sensing. 

What if the ground, the very earth that we walked upon, could talk?  What would it say on these particular pieces of land?  What if the earth could find a way of conveying all the history that has taken place on the pieces of land that I love?  What if every fight, war, act of love, life, happiness or treachery had been recorded in the rocks, the very rocks you climb, or sand that shifts beneath your feet – the very dirt you walk on?

Qumran is a place the evokes such mystery and intrigue to me, and yet I sense there is a lesson to be learnt and a tale of intrigue that needs to be uncovered.  The passions of my heart cannot be quantified in just mere words or deeds, it is in what makes me dance, sing, live and explode with abundant joy!  I love Israel, a dead man walking can see that!  But it’s Qumran (of which I have written about briefly in another Israel blog) that makes my heart explode!

It’s those barren looking mountains with all their secrets, that makes me think I am on a mysterious adventure akin to Indiana Jones and all his cohorts.  It was watching Tom Horn of the Skywatch crew, alongside Carl Gallups and Rabbi Zev Porat on the Jim Bakker Show, that eight minutes into the interview, my heart just exploded and I KNEW – Neil and I were going back to Israel.  In twelve days.

“Hang on Lord, where are we going to find that kind of money, will Neil get the time off work and is this MY idea or yours?”  The answers came so clearly and everything panned out.  But Qumran, the visit that nearly didn’t happen, was central in my mind.

Jim Barfield and the Copper Scroll.  Mysteries unfolding before our very eyes.  Wonder. Intrigue.  Hope?  A treasure directly connected to the Old Testament, with even the possibility of the Old Tabernacle being hidden in those mysterious caves.  Gold bullion, coins, objects from the Temple.  Could you imagine?

What if……..write in the words you long to say.

The actual Copper Scroll is housed in Jordan, and overseen by the Jordanians after it’s discovery, several years post the Dead Sea Scrolls (March 14,1952 at the back of Cave 3).  It was put on display at the Jordan Museum in Amman in 2013, and it is there to this day.    

But what does it say, what does it hold, why does it send people digging into the stark hot desert, with little more than a wing or a prayer?

The Copper Scroll is written by five different authors, two of which are suggested to be Haggai and Zechariah, and was discovered behind a wall in Cave 3 of Qumran, sitting on a Scribe’s desk.  In Qumran if you look up in the mountain face, you will see a cave that has been closed up.  It has importance due to the Second Book of Maccabees, that talks about Jeremiah the Prophet hid the treasure of the Temple following Jerusalem’s seige by Babylon.  If that is the case, then there are things in there that demand the building of the Third Temple.  Maccabees tells how they put the Tabernacle of Moses and the altar in the mountain and then sealed it up.

Is Jim Barfield nutty for going to Qumran so many times, for scouting out secret locations of potential treasure, for applying and lobbying to the Israeli government and US congress for permits to dig in this crazy place?

Having had earth penetrating technology testing the ground with the ability to test between metals and two different forensic laboratories testing samples of rock face, it’s safe to say that something is going on in Qumran!

I can’t answer alot of these questions, but I do know that when we got to go there back in 2013 I KNEW something was afoot, but I hadn’t heard of the Copper Scroll or anything like it, back then.  When we went there we got to have a good look all around, including inside the building where many artifacts are displayed.  Some scrolls are hanging on the walls, and many places have been dug, with just as many questions, the further they go. We also got to see from a distance, the original cave that the scrolls were discovered by the young Bedouin boys back in 1947.

I wonder what else these boys, and perhaps the people who got there afterwards, found in that desolate place?

Are there secret rooms and many more caves that have yet to be explored, or is that just wishful thinking?

All I know at this particular time, is that Qumran is very slow in giving up her secrets, but imagine what will happen when she eventually does?!

Next time we look at Shelley Neese and Ken Johnson, with their intriguing connections to Qumran.

In the meantime, check out some of the photos of Qumran we captured in 2013.

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!