Category Archives: blogging 101

If we were having coffee right now

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This is part of the Everyday inspiration course.

 

If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you about my weekend. I’d explain how I’m running a Company of Girl Guides. We only have seven and they are all new Guides. They joined at the beginning of the year. I’d explain about the camp and how, because it’s almost winter and the expected minimum temperature was 3 degrees, I had organised to pitch a tent in the Brownie hall and spend the night indoors.You’d shiver and agree that it was a wise decision and that personally, nothing would persuade you to abandon your comfy warm bed to sleep on the floor. I’d laugh and tell you about my assistant Guider, who was fantastic by day but at night snored like a saw mill and how I’d hardly had any sleep and after each camp I run I always vow that that would be my last. And it never is.

You’d ask what we do on camp and I’d bring out my photos to show you. See them here

If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you about the dog. How, during campfire, every time a parent came and we had to open the electronic gate, a black Scottie dog came in and how my assistant Guider kept taking him out again. She was getting quite irritated at having to jump up each time a car arrived at our gate. With all the opening and closing, the gate, which was rather rickety to start with, decided to come off the rail at the bottom, making it impossible to close. We couldn’t do anything about it then but at the end of campfire I grabbed a father who had come to collect his daughter and he was able to lift the gate and put it back on the rails. We saw the parents off, took the dog out again and closed the gate for the night.

If we were having coffee together, I’d laugh as I recounted in my Assistant Guider’s words. “There I was, still half asleep, come to switch on the urn and this giant black rat jumped off your camping chair. It was that bloomin’ dog again. I got the fright of me life, I tell you. I lured him outside with a rusk – I hope we’ve got enough. He must have found a way in.”

If we were having coffee together, I’d tell you about Themba, my smallest Guide. She is black and comes from Alexandra. When the girls were all up having hot chocolate and rusks, the dog came to join us again. Themba jumped into my lap, dropping her rusk into her hot chocolate. With wide eyes, she pointed to the dog.

“Don’t you like dogs?” I’d asked her.

“I’m scared of them,” she’d said, almost shivering in my lap.

If we were having coffee together, I’d tell you how the rest of the camp was spent trying unsuccessfully to block any access points the dog might have, then organising how to keep Themba and the dog apart. He was actually a beautiful dog with an expensive, beaded collar, but no phone number on it. He obviously loved people and some of the girls started making plans of how they could ask their parents if they could take him home. The end of camp came, however and everybody went home leaving me and the dog.  I had a choice. I could leave the dog where he was or take him.

If we were having coffee together, I’d explain how I was not a dog person but rather a cat person and how the property we shared with our daughter and son in law had two cats, a rabbit and several birds. Then I’d probably start crying as I told you how I imagined that poor dog, cold and hungry looking for his owners. I suspected that a dog with such a lovely collar would have a microchip giving details of his owner.  I had already phoned the nearest vet but got no answer – probably because it was a Sunday. I remembered an animal clinic  in a suburb on my way home that was open 24 hours because the vet had a house behind the practice so I decided to take the dog there and he could scan for a microchip and maybe I could contact the owner.

If we were having coffee together, you might tell me that you had read in the newspapers that the Animal Clinic in question had closed down. I would say that that was exactly what I had found and that I had sat in the car with the dog trustingly sleeping in the back and cried and cried because I thought I had made the wrong decision. I had been told that the SPCA only keeps strays for 10 days before they are put to sleep and I hadn’t wanted to take him there but it seemed to be the only option. At least they would be able to scan for a microchip. I would take him the next day when everything was open again.

If we were having coffee together I would paint the picture of how the dog chased one of our cats up the tree and how I felt I had betrayed the cat who had been coming to greet me after my absence. I would tell you how I had had to close the dog in our 4m X 4m back garden and how he had cried when I left him alone there. It was then that I was sure that I had made the wrong decision. I would tell you how I phoned my best friend to ask to come and get some dog food and how she had told me that the SPCA had an all night number and how it was the best place to take the dog because that is where everybody phones if they have lost an animal. I found out that after a 4 day stray period the dog could be adopted. I decided to send an update to all the Guides’ parents so that if any of them were willing to adopt the dog I could give the SPCA their number.

I f we were having coffee together, I would show you the message I got from a lady whose daughter was no longer a Guide and hadn’t been for six months. I didn’t know she was still on the Guide whats app group She had seen a post on her suburb’s Facebook community group about a lost dog. It gave a number. Unfortunately by then I had already taken the dog to the SPCA. However, I phoned the owner and he now knows where his dog is. I am expecting any moment to get a message to say that they have been reunited.

If we were having coffee together, you would say that was such an amazing co-incidence. What if I had managed to persuade somebody else to take the dog to be scanned? What if the lady in my group had removed herself when her daughter had left Guides? What if I hadn’t had at least two parents who were vaguely interested in helping if the dog didn’t find his owner and I hadn’t sent the update with them in mind. What if the dog hadn’t chased my cat and I had not realized that he couldn’t stay the night? I would reply that I can clearly see the hand of God in the whole story.

 

Coffee with Wings #1

As part of Blogging 101, I am going to add a feature which will appear weekly. On considering my blog, its purpose and flavor, I have decided to add a scripture verse of the week every Monday. This will set the tone for the rest of the week. I am not going to make it complicated and time-consuming with added images or other embellishments because I would also like people to be able to reply with their verse of the week. A plain verse is fine but what it means to you is also fine.  So here goes:

Verse for this week, particularly for bloggers who feel called to spread inspiration, encouragement and support. What you are sharing are seeds of life.

“Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.”

 

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “I Pledge Allegiance.”

I grew up in the era of hymns and I am still moved and inspired by the old words.  One of my favourites and possibly the most challenging is “I Vow to You, my Saviour.”

It was written by Richard T Bewes after “I vow to Thee my Country” by Celcil Spring-Rice to the music from Thaxted (1921) from Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity  from The Planets (Op32) (1914-1916) by Gustav Holt

I am not often in a position where I can pray it honestly and sincerely. My dedication to my Lord fluctuates as I keep trying to take back control of my life which I have surrendered to Him. However, today’s prompt has reminded me where my allegiance must be.

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https://www.flickr.com/photos/waitingfortheword/

I vow to you, my Saviour, all earthly things above,

Entire, and whole and perfect, the service of my love.

The love that asks no questions, the love that stands the test,

That lays upon the alter the dearest and the best.

The love that never falters, the love that knows the price,

The love that stands indebted before your sacrifice………..

….So light the fire withing me, and let me fan the flame

and fill me with the Spirit, that I may bear your Name.

In season and in hardship, to run my given race.

O keep me ever-burning until I see your face.

I vow to you my Saviour, that where your feet have trod,

I’ll serve and always follow my Master and my God.

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/i-pledge-allegiance/”>I Pledge Allegiance</a>

Impossible Woman

 
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Photo from http://harben-pictures.deviantart.com/art/Supergirl-311730139

I don’t know if anybody else out there has been intimidated by the Proverbs 31 woman but I try to avoid  reading that chapter. I fall so far short. She is constantly busy, getting up before sunrise to cook- or maybe she just never goes to bed. because her lamp does not go out at night. She runs a fashion business, is rich enough to buy real estate from her profits but still has time to make home-made bed linen and clothes for her family. She also has time to do gardening, planting a vineyard with her own hands and she is probably planning to start a wine business on the side. She  does charity work and has time to give wise advice and teach others. She is a mother and presumably still has time for her husband too.

I started thinking about this impossible woman again today when I read Evelyn’s post Everlasting Love. As a single woman, instead of looking for the one, she strives to make herself the one.  Of course she can no more be perfect than any one of us but I admire where her heart and her passion are. It is a noble goal.

I remembered the opening verse of Proverbs 31. “The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him.” My aha! moment. His mother taught him all this.I am a mother of an unattached son in his twenties. If I were to make a list of characteristics of his future wife she would also not be real.

She would have to be a Christian, of course, preferably involved in some ministry that they can do together. I would like her to have a career of her own but be prepared to put it aside or do it from home when the children come. She would need to be intelligent with a good general knowledge to fit in with my son. She would have to think my son is wonderful and do everything to please him but still keep her own individuality and have some interests of her own. I would like her to be scientifically minded, like me, but also good at crafts and homemaking. Moreover she would have to be thrifty at running a home, good with people, able to do her own housework if necessary, be a wonderful mother. If she happened to be or have been a Girl Guide or Girl Scout, so much the better. Being a good cook is quite important but so is a being a good washer of dishes. She would need to be interested in sport as my son is a Sport Scientist, as well as interested in competitive Ball Room and Latin dancing so she could partner my son. If in addition to all these things she was beautiful and free from any potential life threatening illnesses, bonus! I agree with King Lemuel’s mother. “An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not harm, all the days of her life.”  In other words she is totally trustworthy and faithful and brings out the best in my son.

I am pretty sure that when my son does come home with the woman he wants to marry, she won’t fulfill all the criteria. The woman I had in mind is nothing more than a mother’s day dream. I believe my son has sense enough to choose a Christian girl who fears the Lord but for the rest, if she makes him happy and does him good, I am sure we will love her and thank God for her every day.

So I no longer feel I have to live up to the Proverbs 31 Impossible Woman. God will continue to work in my life growing me closer to His image.

May you, too, be free of this standard of perfection.

Plant your dreams

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These words come from a Girl Guide/Girl Scout campfire song and is included in many campfire songs collections. I love the imagery of it. Of course, to have dreams bloom, they first need to be planted. It is three weeks to Spring here in South Africa and my first sweet-pea flower is about to bloom. However, If I hadn’t planted seeds three or four months ago, I would have no flowers for Spring.

I believe God gives us dreams, just like he made our unique personality and set our borders. However, just having a dream is not enough. although God does the growing, we have to do the planting. Dreams no more materialize overnight than flowers appear the day after we plant the seed. It takes time.

I would like to suggest the following as an aid to identifying your dreams and keeping them in God’s hands. Out of a piece of colored card or paper cut three seed shapes. On each write a dream that you secretly harbor. You don’t need to tell anybody about it except the Lord who knows anyway. Keep them in a safe place for at least a year. You could put them in your bible or in an envelope in a drawer. After a year check whether it is still your dream and whether anything has happened.

Of course it is possible to plant dream seeds that are not of God.  In Ezekiel 14 certain elders of Israel came to consult the prophet but God revealed to him that “these men have taken idols into their hearts” and that he would answer them according to the multitude of their idols. Some dreams are not of God. After a year you might know yourself which dreams are not of God if you have been keeping close to Him. If not, a simple test is “Will it glorify God or glorify me?”

Planting seeds is not the end of the gardening. It is true that only God can cause the growth and the flowering, but there are things we have to do. We need to water the seeds or plant them in a place where they will be watered naturally. We can do this by immersing ourselves in the Word of God, noting His promises and trusting Him.  Seeds also need sunshine and we can ensure this by walking in the light that God has revealed to us and making sure that our lives reflect His glory and are not riddled with sin. If we are led by the Spirit we will be in the light.

After a year, how about writing a comment about what has happened or writing your own post?

May all of your dreams bloom like Daisies in the sun!

Why I wrote “The Saddest Little Sugar Bowl in the World”

Isn’t it amazing that God makes us each individually handcrafted as a non-repeatable, original masterpiece then we do our best to make ourselves into copies!

When my children were still at the age of picture books, about 25 years ago, I came across a series of Serendipity books. They were expensive but like all mothers, I wanted the absolute  best for my children. The  one I remember best was called “Leo the Lop” by Stephen Cosgrove  and illustrated by Robin James. Leo the Lop

It was a charming book about a bunny who had abnormal ears. He tried hard to be like the other bunnies but finally had to realize that whatever you are is normal. I loved the concept of teaching children to accept themselves no matter what.

Later when I entered a competition run by the Eastern Province Writers Club for children between 3 and 6 years, I decided to write a story specifically for young children who felt they were somehow different. I also wanted to include counting and colour recognition. I introduce the concept of God as the Maker but in a suitably obscure way that it would not prevent non-Christian parents from buying the book. I consider it my best work to date. My daughter, Mandy, painted the pictures for me.

Sugar Bowl Cover

Since then I have come across a number of children who feel different. I have unofficially dedicated the book to Isabelle de Groot. She is the daughter of my ex boss and she got to have the first copy printed on the computer and arranged in a pocket file. She was three at the time and took it to her nursery school.  The children enjoyed it. That was when I decided to self publish. Five  or more years later, Isabelle  got her wish, a baby sister – only Charlotte was born with Downs Syndrome and only lived for seven months. Isabelle now has a signed copy for her and Charlotte. Many other children I have come across feel different. There are others with Downs Syndrome, some with thick glasses, one is a dwarf. I would like all these children to know that God has a plan for their life. They have a purpose and can enrich the world and be part of God’s master plan which we don’t understand.

Getting the book published has been very up and down. Originally the Writers club told us that the top three entries would be published by a local South African publishing company but after two years I gave up hope of that prospect.

Later, after a lot of searching on the internet and trying to find an agent and nearly getting involved in a scam scheme. I did find an agent in South Africa. She was very excited about my book and was going to take it to book fairs here and abroad. After six months she decided to emigrate to Australia and start a new career.

I felt demotivated but still believed in my book. At my son’s advice, I decided to self-publish on Lulu.com where my book can still be ordered and printed. However, even with author discount, it was too expensive in foreign currency to enable me to buy a batch and sell them here.

Finally I found a publisher who would do small runs and a reasonable price and I had 50 printed. I have managed to get rid of most of them and I am trying to decide whether to have more printed. However I am by nature introverted and I am no salesman. None of the book shops I have approached have been interested in selling my book. Maybe I just don’t have the right contacts.

If you would like  a free e copy, you can click on the sugar bowl image in the side bar and you will be taken to the Lulu.com site. The book is free but you need to add it to your cart.

I have written other books- more children’s books usually with a moral and i am hoping to find an illustrator who is prepared to come into partnership with me and we will share (any) profits.

Tags and Titles

I like my blog’s title. “Coffee in the Rain.” It conjures up images of things not going according to my plan. I am wet and miserable. Somebody offers me a cup of cappuccino. It doesn’t make me dry or change the situation but it warms me up and makes me feel better. Then I can actually take a step back and notice that rain is actually beautiful. Rain is life. Some people pray for rain.

Some years ago my Son, David, ran a website called Coffee in the Rain. It was a collection of inspirational stories that people could subscribe to and add to. I have his permission to use his title.

The tagline is what I want to tell the World. God has a plan for your life. Things may seem difficult or even impossible, but God has a plan. We might even come to the end of our life and not know what God’s plan was, but God has a plan.

Inspired by the song “God has a plan for my life” by Debby Kerner Rettino

for full lyrics click here

Testing my wings

I wrote a little while ago about How I got to start this blog. How it all Began Taking the course on Blogging 101 is a little baby step in the blogging direction. I still don’t know what I am called to write so from the fiction side I have joined The South African Writers Circle and am trying to submit work once a month.

The purpose of my blog is to help other people also to realise that God has a plan for their lives too. I know He has a plan for mine, even if He isn’t always very forthcoming with details. Sometimes I forget this fact, especially when things are going badly and I am feeling depressed. I would like to share encouragement and insight.

I would like to connect with other Christians and see what the rest of the body is up to.

I have a couple of other blogs. One is personal and not for sharing, one is about how I got to start a Guide Company in a disadvantaged black area and then subsequently took over another company as well and finally closed the first one. Now it is mostly photos of our activities. See  My Guide blog   One was started as a travel log when we went to visit my son and daughter-in-law in New Zealand and meet our new grandson. It then evolved to include other places we have visited. See My travel blog. My last blog was taken from a booklet I made for the Eskom Eta awards to encourage energy efficiency and is about saving energy while cooking as well as recipes to use a solar oven, hot box or combination. See Energy efficient cooking.

So now you know a reasonable amount about me. I am a mother and grandmother, wife, Christian, Guider and am excited about energy saving. I love to travel but usually can’t afford it.  I can add that I am a scientist working as a lab assistant in  a high school, I enjoy crafts, I am a chocoholic and love cats.