Category Archives: Writing

Spiritual Mediocrity

One of the benefits of lockdown is, it makes church easier. No more rushing on a Sunday morning, misjudging the time available and grabbing a banana as we rush out the door in a hectic attempt not to be late.

Now, even if we only wake at 9.30, which is an extreme case, we can still participate in church in our pyjamas. We can drink coffee during church and even eat breakfast! Rosebank Union Church has organised their platform in such a way that we can interact with other members of the church or even request prayer during the live broadcast.

We are in Hibberdene at the moment, escaping from the cold of Randburg with a doctor’s note stating it will be better for my husband’s circulation problem in his hands in a warmer climate. When we’ve been on holiday here, or, for that matter in any other location away from home, it is always a mission to attend church on a Sunday. First you have to spend a long time on the computer finding out what churches are nearby, what their times are and how to get there. Then you go to a totally strange place among total strangers and join their service. There have been times, of course when this has been a great blessing, but it’s always a bit stressful. Lockdown has changed all that.

Yesterday’s live service from our own church was a blessing, if somewhat uncomfortable.

We are working through Ezra. After seventy years in exile, God worked in the heart of Cyrus, the Babylonian king, as well as in the hearts of some of the exiles, which resulted in a large group of them returning to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. They started with enthusiasm, built the altar and foundations, dedicated the altar and celebrated. Then opposition came, they got discouraged and the work stopped for 15 years.

Then two prophets gave them a word from God. The reason they were not flourishing, (you earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it, (Hag1:7)) was that they were concentrating on building their own lives and dwellings and businesses and not on what God had called them to do.

Perhaps we, too, are stuck in spiritual mediocrity, putting aside what God has called us to and instead focusing on our own lives, families, needs and wants. I am sure I was not the only member of the congregation to be challenged and determine immediately to change my ways.

However, I am in a quandary. It is all very well for the Israelites. They were called specifically to build the temple – and not all of the exiles were called either. Only some. I am not sure what my main calling is. Certainly I feel called to write. Then I know that God gave me my husband in answer to a prayer. I am called to love him, honour him and cherish him. One of my top three priorities in life, which I formulated for myself long ago at a Christian camp after I recommitted myself to the Lord, was to make one person extremely happy. That I still regard as a priority. Then, at some stages I’ve felt called to get involved in the Gideon ministry, the Alpha ministry and other short time callings.

All I can do is pray and look for God’s guidance.

Dear Father, Please forgive me for living my life as if I were in charge rather than You. You made me, You bought me with a price and I have freely given You access to my life for Your control. You know me inside and out. You understand my personality, my strengths and weaknesses. Please show me where You want me to focus my attention for Your kingdom building. Thank you. Amen.

From Slush Pile to Mulch.

I’ve always dreamed of being a writer. One year, as a new year’s resolution, I decided to write a science fiction book. I didn’t quite finish it in a year but it was close. It was bad. Even the friends I asked to read it were not encouraging.

Then, at a Writers retreat/workshop in 2015, I felt God calling me to write.

This was very exciting. I didn’t know what God wanted me to write so my natural instincts turned to fiction. I joined the South African Writers Circle, signed up for how to write articles articles and read everything I could.

Then, after a lot of practice and a little inspiration, I wrote a South African novel, They Call Me Nothing.

I thought it was good, my friends thought it was good, even my writers club gave me second place for the first chapter in one of their competitions.

However, I submitted it to the only two South African publishers that accept that genre (coming of age, English fiction) and recently I was again rejected by the second one. They had asked for a hard copy manuscript and stipulated that manuscripts cannot be returned so I can picture what happens to the product of two years of my life. It will go into the recycling bin for paper, end up becoming a slurry of paper mulch, be pressed, rolled and dried and possibly be turned into cardboard for toothpaste packaging.

It was not good enough. It wouldn’t sell.

I read Psalm 84 today. Verse 11 at first dismayed me. For the Lord is a sun and a shield. The Lord bestows favour and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. (NIV)

There is no way my walk is blameless. Why, I’m not even keeping the first and greatest commandment to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. What chance do I have of receiving the Lord’s blessing and favour?

Then I remembered grace. This year I’ve been hearing a lot about grace. Christianity is different from all other religions. Other religions teach that man must live a good life, according to a set of rules, to earn God’s approval. Christianity teaches that God gives His approval freely to us as we are. We are imputed with Christ’s righteousness because He took on our sins and died for them. “Salvation is not a reward for the righteous but a gift for the guilty.” (Steve Lawson)

I am so glad God is not like a publisher, carefully evaluating stories and consigning all but the most excellent to the recycling bin. God is our Father. Each of our life stories is very important to Him, whether or not they make the slightest impact on other people or the world.

Love Sonnet

This month’s challenge for my writers’ circle is to write a love sonnet after the style of Shakespeare. This is my attempt.

SONNET 1. The Rising Sun

The rising sun in all its radi’nt light

Is but a shadow set besides thy face.

The panoply of stars, all blazing bright,

Is merely trim thy glorious robe to grace.


When all the birds on earth with song rejoice

And waters roar and thunders clap with glee,

Combin’d they’re just the echo of thy voice,

My ear is dull ‘till thou addresseth me.


Thy touch upon my skin is dearer, far,

Than first sweet sunbeams after days of rain.

In thy embrace my heart glows like a star,

And gathers strength to conquer every pain.


When hearts forget to pump, or eyes to see,

This truth remains. Thou died for love of me.

Soapy Exit


When I poured shampoo into the kitchen sink, the squid blew bubbles. By the time the foam cleared, he was gone. I never saw him again.


I am trying to do two challenges with this post. The first is Grammar Ghoul Press’ Shapefitting challenge where we are challenged to write a story in 26 words including the words “kitchen”,”squid” and “shampoo.”

The next is Linda G Hill’s One liner Wednesday. I hope neither of the challenge hosts objects to my trying to kill two birds with one stone (or two squids with one wash).

#1linerWeds badge by

Just when I thought I was off the hook!

I have been taking it easy lately. I haven’t blogged for ages, I haven’t written anything for the writers circle and my book is sitting at chapter four where it has been since June.

Those of you who follow my blog will know that I felt called to write after a Christian writers’ retreat. A couple of months ago I contacted Valerie who is involved in  a project called “Books in Homes Africa” Their mission is to produce affordable books so every home can buy them thus bringing literacy to South Africa.  Val was excited about some of my children’s books, including “The Saddest Little Sugar Bowl in the World.” The upshot is I have donated my children’s stories to the project.

I thought that was it. I thought that was what the call was about. I enjoyed the freedom of not having to look after my blog, not having to try to find time in my busy day to write. I deleted without reading all the e mails from writers’ blogs I had subscribed to.

I might need to rethink! An interesting set of co-incidences happened this last weekend.

  • First I got an e mail advising me that there was a pingback on one of my blog posts. When I went to check it out, I saw it was the one about the writers retreat and how I had felt called to write, “Waking the Dragon”
  • Then I also got an e mail from Val after months. I hadn’t worried or followed up at all because I had released my books to the wider world and what happened to them was none of my concern. However her e mail encouraged me and I thought maybe I could write more stories for beginner readers.
  • We were on a motorhome rally at a lovely resort in Vereniging over the weekend and I had brought my Kindle to do some reading. My cheaper version shows adverts for books from Amazon as the sleep screen and as I took up my Kindle on Saturday to continue reading “The Girl on the Train”, this is what I sawSo now I am going to have to get more disciplined again and go back to my novel. I’ll have to read the first three chapters again just o see what’s happening. I am just going to have to believe that whom God calls, he equips (Hebrews 13:21) because I certainly don’t have the  perseverance to do it on my own. I can’t even stick to a diet for a week!

It’s a Circus Out There


“Mayday! Mayday! This is Medijig 100. Can anybody hear me?”

“Come in Medijig 100”

“I am running out of fuel. Where can I land?”

“We see you on our radar. You are in the middle of Letnin City. There is no open space for 10km.”

“What about a building with a flat roof?”

“Not in Letnin. After the terrorist attack last year all the buildings have had spike barriers added to their roofs.”

“Wait. I see something. It’s a flat topped vehicle. I’m going down.”

The clown in the circus van looked up. “Hey Dora, A helicopter ambulance is going to land on our roof. They’ll have oxygen for sure. Our little asthmatic chimp is going to be all right!”

120 words


This story is for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers and is based on the following photo prompt.


This week’s photo prompt is provided by Iain Kelly. Thank you Iain!

Maybe you’d like to join in the fun.

Guide for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

1. A prompt photo will be provided each Tuesday to be used as a base to your story. Please include photo prompt with your story.

2. Linking for this challenge begins on Tuesday and runs to the following Monday evening.

3. Please credit photo to photographer.

4. The story word limit is 100 – 150 words (+ – 25 words). Please try and stay within this limit.

5. Pingback to the challenge post in your story’s post.

6. This is a flash fiction challenge (stories in 100-175 words or less) and each story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Therefore, no serial (continuation) stories. They become too complicated for our readers.

7. Add your story to the InLinkz Link-up (Blue Froggy button). If you need link-up instructions, please email me at

8. Please keep stories below R rating.

9. Please respect the diversity of our readers and writers in regard to race, religion, and life style choice when writing your stories.

10. Remember, half the fun is reading and commenting on each other’s stories.


“Pleeeease Granny, it’s only five Rand.” How can I resist such a pleading four year old face.

“OK then. Here you are.”

I go to the ladies bathroom while she’s on the horse.

I return. No horse. No granddaughter.

This is part of the shapeshifting flash fiction challenge. This week the story must be exactly 39 words based on the following photo prompt.



Badge: Shapeshifting 13 #59

A Bookish Gentleman

Charles went back to the library after twenty five years.

It was hushed as he’d remembered it. It seemed like the spirit of Mama drifted and swirled in between the dusty pages.

“Are you sure we can take books home?” he’d asked her in awe.  He had been three when Mama  introduced him to the Library.

She’d smiled. “Only for three weeks. Then you bring them back and take others.”

He loved books.

After the accident, when he lived in the Orphanage, he read all the books he could find.

Charles Drummond, PhD, looked around.  “Thank you, Mama,” he whispered. 100 words.

This story is part of the FFfAW challenge for this week. The challenge is to write a story in 100 or so words. thanks to Joy for hosting and TJ Paris for this week’s  photo prompt.

Green Beam

Sophie slung her camera bag over her shoulder. The  light was perfect for landscape as well as macro photography.

She saw the space ship just above the clouds. As she watched it get closer, a telescopic cone protruded and shot a beam of greenish light onto a yellow-wood.  The tree miniaturized and was drawn up into the space ship.

The beam shot out again, two metres in front of her and swept closer. Sophie grabbed the reflector from her  bag and deflected the beam as it reached her.

As she watched, the space ship shrank and disappeared in green light.

100 words

This post is part of Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers hosted by Priceless Joy. the challenge is to write a story of 100 words based on a photo prompt. the photo this week was thanks to Nonnaci.

Streams of consciousness Saturday – Climb

SoCS badge 2015

This post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Click the link to find out how you can join in too!

The word I have chosen is climb. As in move from one elevation to a higher one. When I was a little girl I used to fantasize about a system where you always walked down hill. I realized that to equalize things at some stage you would have to go up at some stage so I pictured a sort of lift contraption at every street corner. I am still not crazy about walking or even cycling uphill. It takes so much more effort. When I go on hikes and have to climb a steep incline, my method is to take ten steps up, turn around (so I can’t see how much hill is still ahead of me) and take ten deep breaths then continue with the next ten steps.

At work I have my office on the second floor. It is in a school so there are no lifts. I have got into the habit of climbing up and down two flights of stairs regularly. After a school holidays, when I get back to school I am so breathless and can barely make it up the two flights. It occurs to me, when I retire next year, my body will miss the regular conditioning those two flights of steps have afforded me.

If we only had downhill, our climbing muscles would get weaker and weaker. I suppose life is like that too. If everything always ran smoothly and there were no obstacles, no mountains to climb, we would miss out on a lot of life and never develop coping skills and our characters would never develop to their full potential.

So today, I thank God that I can climb and that He’s put steps in my life.