Friday 26 May 2023

FMF - We owe it to Ourselves

Writing with the Five Minute Friday community this week, the word prompt is "owe!" Here I go...

I've been thinking for a while, about a book project I completed some time ago. I prayed about it and left it. Knowing it was a very unique project and would definitely need a publisher who could believe in it, and have a vision of belief, if it was to be published. What I have also faced is how the opinions of others have impacted my own thoughts, and the kindness of Yeshua has come in to those places and let me know I am not to believe or listen to the thoughts of others. This has been a journey. A deeply personal one. To those who know me and have read my books, I have been successful from a publishing perspective. And have won awards and written best - sellers, but I don't write traditional things or even books that fit into moulds. It's the best part of my writing, and also one that makes life a little difficult when it comes to publishing. Publishers always want to make money and play it safe. But here's the thing... for some time it has been impressed on my heart to move forward with this project that has been in the background for a number of years. SO I pushed the button and submitted. Say a prayer for me, and may God's will be done...


Linking with Five Minute Friday 

Friday 24 March 2023

Not Following the Crowd - FMF

 My Five Minute Friday Post this week, setting the timer for 5 minutes and writing on the word follow... 


When I saw the word for today, I breathed out in a sense of peace. It certainly seemed to be right up my street, and exactly where I have been this past week, at least with something new I have been thinking, feeling and dreaming of doing.

In this world of ours, we often think we have to do something in the same way as someone else, or worse still, we think we shouldn't do something because someone else is "already" doing it.  I know I've got caught out in that way of thinking before. The enemy of my soul has lied to me countless times, making me think I shouldn't do the very thing God has placed in my heart, because what could I offer. What could I say that would be different. I've recognised this trick and learnt that many other people I know, struggle with the same thing.

But this lie is not truth!

Each of us are unique. And the things we dream of doing are God - breathed, beautiful and deep. Over the past month I have been sensing a hobby brewing.. a desire, to create a sports podcast for women. I got caught a little in over - thinking it, but no ways! I feel immense freedom and joy in dreaming about what I'd want to be talking about. So I am really excited about setting on this new journey of sport podcasting, because I'm following the leading of God, and there's nothing better!


Sharing over with the community at Five Minute Friday 

Monday 6 March 2023

The Power of Vashti

It was an opulent world, the one she lived in. Defined as the best home in the land, it was also the most dangerous. A place of law and everything in its place, including her. Vashti the queen was taught to know her place. But was that place her rightful place? Is the place we’ve been taught to “know,” the right place for us as well? Or is it a place of “don’t step out of place or you’ll be expelled?”

Xerxes the strong Persian king desired his wife to appear before drunk men, so he could show her to the people in the same way he had shown his prized possessions to the visiting nations. His wife, fresh from birthing his son and heir, was ordered to present herself as merely a possession before people who would perversely stare at her form. Suggested by scholars, that Vashti was to appear naked wearing only the royal crown, this would have been a rather dangerous situation among drunk men don’t you think? Although a queen of the strongest nation in the world, Vashti had little power, except she did have personal power. She could not control the court, or the world she lived in, but she could control her choices. She could raise her voice; she could summon all the courage she possessed and say no to being used as nothing but a possession or a form. And she did just that.

We know nothing about Vashti’s history, the rabbi’s call her vain and idolatrous, history cannot find her and so if we consider how little we know about her, perhaps we can decide on her character based on this one moment. A moment found in the first chapter of the book of her successor Esther.

Vashti is vilified in theology, but for what exactly? For refusing to be accosted, abused or misused? For exercising personal power and the right for every woman to say no when ordered to do something that goes against their character? We are a Vashti when we say no to abuse, when we say “no that makes me uncomfortable,” or “no I am not going to sleep with you.” We are Vashti when we stand on the sidewalk and protest against abuse, we are Vashti when we refuse to be judged by the food we eat or the figures we possess. We are her in so many ways and that’s a good thing.

The centuries old gate keepers of theology disliked Vashti because the gate keepers were all men, interpreting scripture based on their understanding and suspicion, hatred even, of strong women. Yet, theirs is the same laughable but sad behaviour of Xerxes and his court. Xerxes enraged with her rebellious behaviour and flat out refusal of his order, turns to one of his officials and asks what is to be done to the queen? Memucan answers and says “Vashti the queen has not only wronged the king but all the officials (royal representatives) and all the peoples who are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus.  For the queen’s conduct will become known to all women, causing them to look on their husbands with contempt (disrespect), since they will say, ‘King Ahasuerus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, but she did not come.”

Gasp! Certainly, because Vashti exercised her God given right to say no, this has placed the most horrific fear in the hearts of the mighty men of Persia. Think about it, they fear a female uprising, an awakening among women, and this awakening would disrupt the very fabric of the Persian existence. We could laugh at it, if it were not so sad and so familiar. This new law enforced upon Vashti’s refusal to be misused, now further restricted a woman’s personal power to choose what is best for her and her life. Patriarchy will rule and reign, period. This diabolical plan to silence the voice of women through law, fear, false doctrine, people, governments, and so many more outlets is not something new. It is something we are all too familiar with. Which is why we need a nation of Vashti women, right here, right now and we need a nation of Mordechai men. As much as we look lovingly at our matriarch Esther and admire her boldness to go before the king, we can forget that initially Esther wanted to remain silent. Yet it was her cousin Mordechai who insisted that she a woman, use her voice to change the course of a nation and a people, forever.

When Esther decided to use her voice, it took courage. Courage to go when unsummoned and Vashti held courage in her heart when she refused despite being summoned. Either way, it was the power of the female voice that could be heard louder than the dishes at the intimate dinner, or the drunkenness at a mass gathering. And it will be our voices refusing to be silent, that will be heard the loudest, it’s time to be a Vashti, for such a time as this.

These are my Purim thoughts this year - Happy Purim!

Friday 3 February 2023

FMF - Ignoring Stars

 I have not done a Five Minute Friday Post in a long time, so I am happily joining in this week to write for five minutes without thinking, editing or revising, timer set..... let's go!
Nick Jonas got a star on the walk of fame. Sometimes, celebrities and their "wins," dominate the news and it seems as though they are always winning. It can be hard to ignore that. We live such ordinary lives, the rest of us, or so it seems. We are world apart from their lives, so can we ignore what they do? I believe we can, and should probably. The trap of comparison steals joy and let's face it, life isn't a lot of ups, it's filled with many downs too.
I have been thinking for some time, about Leonardo da Vinci's words, some of his diary scrawlings, and his words tumble off the page, he wrote them, "have I done anything at all?" Even Leonardo wondered if his life mattered. And while he enjoyed some patronage during his life, he fell in to somewhat of obscurity until 500 years after his death, when a rare painting was discovered of him and society gathered around his work and his memory once again.

It can be hard to ignore the spinning world that seems to move so very fast, forgetting all of us ordinary people. But we are not lost or forgotten. Ours is not a star to be left on a side walk, we are called heavenward, to an eternal legacy, to a star that shines brightly in the universe, for all to see. We are not ignored, neither is our impact, it is Heaven bought and that's the only star that really matters....

Linking with Five Minute Friday

Tuesday 31 January 2023

These Girls in Blue

These girls in blue, waited on the side-lines, their faces lit with joy. Not only because they watched their team mates batting with excellence, but because they knew it was their time. Their time to win.

The first time a female cricket team from India would lift a world cup trophy.
The final runs were scored. India won, beating England in a seriously convincing win.

These young girls, all under – 19, laughed and hugged. It was pure joy to watch them.
Do they realise what they have achieved? I don’t think so.
Not yet. Not now. But some day they will.

I taught Indians English when they came to South Africa. Not cricket players of course, but nurses and midwives, many male, but mostly female. I spent hours with them and heard many stories, and learnt much about their culture. Patriarchy is still so much the backbone of India and its society. So is class, and honour, child marriage, discrimination, honour killings, gendercide and lack of opportunities for girls.

These young girls from India, are our very first world cup under 19 winners, but more than that, their faces, their lives and their stories, can and will inspire Indian girls to dream.

Shafali Verma was sensational at captaining her under – 19 squad and we will see her soon, as she joins the international team for the upcoming Women’s T20 World Cup. But Shafali’s story, is one that should be a lesson. She grew up in a suburb in India where girls were not encouraged to play outside, let alone play cricket. Shafali however, was determined to pursue her love for cricket, she cut her hair and disguised herself as a boy to play the sport. Her parents were jeered at and neighbours called them all sorts of names when they said their daughter was going to play cricket. Her father was a huge cricket fan and coached her, supporting her skills until eventually she was noticed and made her first-class debut at only 14 years of age. She is still criticised for being “too aggressive as a batter” in women’s cricket (really!) But she’s here, and she’s a woman of inspiration. To say the least.

In an interview after the win, one of the young female players spoke in her mother tongue, she was clear in her words, “my father died when I was very young, my mother is a farmer and farmed to help me have a better life, she sacrificed so much to help me get here today.”

Anyone who understands the culture in India, will understand that this mama didn’t own a farm and boss labourers around, they would understand that she was the labourer, a single mother, who kept her daughter. Worked hard to give her a life others would have fought against.

Child marriage.
Abuse, exploitation, violence,
female discrimination,
It’s part of the ongoing discrimination that many organisations and individuals are fighting against. 


By winning the world cup and sharing their truths, these young girls are showing us, the world, their nation and society – that discrimination is unjust. Dreams are attainable. Girls matter, and girls should be free from discrimination and inequality.

By winning the world cup, we have heard the stories of supportive fathers and uncles who nurtured, cheered and coached their daughters to achieve greatness. These are the types of fathers who change the world for good. These are the types of fathers who are needed, desperately in our world.

By winning the world cup, these incredible girls have shown us the resilience of India’s next generation of women, throwing off the shackles of discrimination and inequality. I am inspired by them, but also as I sat on the edge of my couch watching them I saw their humility, their dedication to team work and their respectful attitudes and gentle presence. They are our daughters too and I am sending them all the love in the world. Thank you daughters of India for being bravely you, and for the mama’s and papa’s who believed in their daughters, ji. 

I interviewed Jill Mcelya Founder of the Invisible Girl Project focusing on fighting gendercide in India, she speaks about the discrimination facing girls in India, here's a link to our conversation: The Invisible Girl Project

Wednesday 28 July 2021

Finally, a New Home!

 Seven years ago, I started praying for a new home. The crazy thing is, we don't often think much about timing when it comes to moving or finding a home, as much as we consider timing when it comes to many other things, like our purpose or calling. But somehow, God never released us into a new home until this month. All these many years later. If there's one thing I know, it's that sometimes the things our Father decides to do, defies logic and understanding. But that's the beauty of faith. It suspends meaning. And as people of faith, we forfeit control by allowing there to be no understanding in situations which call for it. Or we risk attaching the wrong meaning to our situations.

Moving has been a deep journey. Ten years of living in one home almost placed us in a comfort zone, which wasn't very comfortable at all. We lived in a close complex, sadly one of the needs within South Africa, is the need to be safe. So we are often found living in security villages, which put you in close contact with your neighbours and if your neigbours aren't very nice, well, you are basically in hell. Our story. We had a restraining order against our downstairs neighbours (thankfully they moved away eventually), we were physically attacked by another neighbour and basically routinely victimised because lawlessness, selfish and evil heartedness prevailed within our security village and we refused to bow our knee to it.

Fast forward..

As I sit in the quiet solitude of a large home, with its high ceilings, in a beautiful suburb in a neighbourhood where the neighbours greet, and help one another, where the birds never stop chirping and the cool breeze blows from the sea, I feel released, and blessed. The years of living in that home, have taken its toll on my soul. Of that I have become aware. Yet in the 4 weeks of finally settling in to a new home, a new space and a new rhythm, I've learnt a lot. And I have truly come home. We moved back to the neighbourhood I grew up in, with the beautiful familiar sights and sounds. Our beloved Table Mountain can be seen from our home and it never fails to mesmerise me. 

Ive learnt about yearning and pulling. The reality of feeling a pull towards "coming back home." We always knew this was where we would be, we felt it spiritually. And God made it happen. When you feel a deep spiritual something indescribable pulling you towards something, it's because there's destiny written all over it. The invisible string that connected us towards this pulling, brought us home.

God can do in 1 day, what could take you many years. Eighteen months ago, we drove around in this very suburb (and it's a small suburb), almost like spies looking at the houses. In this very suburb we prayed, "Father release a home to us right here." We had complete belief in the Goodness of His Heart. The absolute conviction that He is a good Father. In March, we received a call from a family member who never knew we wanted to move. They were moving, thought of us, and offered us the opportunity to rent the home they were vacating. Where? In the neighbourhood we prayed in. There are no coincidences.

 A comfort zone is fear based. Even though we were desperate for the move, we were afraid at times. And almost risked giving up the blessings that waited for us on the other side. When we defaulted in to seeing things with our natural eyes, we risked almost giving up what was intended for us. This is such a HUGE lesson! One I am still pondering deeply. Thankfully, Yahweh knew our humanness and never let us slip, going ahead and doing wonders. His peace guided us like a very strong light, it never moved or failed, never left us, or let us down. We are here, because He was guiding the whole process. 

When we are blessed, others are blessed. Friends have been joining with us in prayer for many years. We had shared with a small number of friends about our hardships and our desire to move. They were our prayer warriors, and our voices of encouragement. Because of their love and prayers, we are here as well. And now our home, is their home too. Our blessings, help them know God is still good and they can trust Him for their own dreams. Deeper still, we've shared meals and conversations around our dining room table with more friends and family in a single month then we usually have before. That's because this space is a home. And we want to share it with the ones we love. A few months back, someone I know was praying for us and saw a picture of people coming in to our home who needed a touch of love and peace. She told me she saw many people refreshed as we welcomed them in. These words are unfolding. Naturally and without hesitation.

It's a journey. We look around and feel the gratitude, it's deep because we know what we went through to get here. Yet, for me personally I also know how my body has held the score of the years of trauma we lived through in an environment which felt unsafe emotionally, and mentally. No, we weren't living in a dangerous neighbourhood, in fact it's one of the most upmarket neighbourhoods in the Cape. But it is oppressed and depraved, and the richer people are, the more they demand licentious right, to everything and anything. I'm taking the time to heal, knowing that everything - light, sound, environment, and people all effect our cells. Since moving, there are mornings and afternoons I've felt the Holy Spirit beckon  me to lean in deeply, in to the silence that charaterises the environment where we live. Leaning in to this silence, has meant realising I am safe. As a child, my home was never silent, there was always fighting. My brain was always scanning for danger. It was the same where we used to live, people were always gossiping, or complaining, arguing or intimidating others. Your brain scans for clues of fear. Now, God is showing me that's no longer the reality, there is a silence that is calming. I am safe. Of this, I am still learning.

So we are settling. And it's beautiful.

Friday 29 January 2021

A Multi - Faceted Design

 Writing with Five Minute Friday this week! GO!

Everyone has their own unique design.

A way of living, a way of being, our personalities and giftings shaping our purposes and destiny. Some of those ways and some of our giftings come to us slowly slowly. They awaken at certain times, like a long stretching and a smiling after a good nights sleep. I used to think, I'd always know my purpose and my clear path ahead, if I knew my giftings. There's truth in this to be sure. My writing gene was etched in to me and began awakening when I was just 5 years old. My speaking gift and my calling to be a radio presenter and public speaker, well that was a gift I don't think I ever had, until I had to have it.

I was content with the write life, and earnestly wanting to grow as a writer. Until, I was nudged forward by God to speak. I had a fear of public speaking and prayed I would never have to speak in public. Yet, it was where God wanted me to be. He weaned me, nurtured me and helped me forward. It's not about the sound of our voice, or even the words we speak - it's the sheer belief I needed. The belief to know this was where I was called to be. This gift and calling, gradually awakening. Possibly there in childhood, but very dormant and unawakened. It's the Most High who nurtures our giftings, and teaches us what they are - giving us gifts incrementally throughout our lives. And who knows - what gift we will find within ourselves tomorrow? Or which gift we may discover we have even now, they might be the ones we grapple with, or don't think we have...! 


Linking Up with Five Minute Friday