Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Modern Day Samaritan Woman

Lessons in Grace/Mercy/Acceptance as given by Lamb Chops, Spit Braai and 101 assorted Poultry and Live Stock…

Sometimes I get weary...

No it’s more accurate to say, I basically feel weary every single day…

I don’t start out my day that way. I usually wake up refreshed, positive and ready for the day, but then as the day progresses and my brain is filled with all the conflicting messages and tensions and negativity that floods the mind and body from the headlines, the news, even my own Face Book, I end up weary because seriously this world has become a scary place to be in. It’s frightening sending my loved ones out every day, knowing they are facing the unpredictable and that there are no safe places.  

This world is literally falling apart and the evil that men can do, knows no boundaries.

So in the late afternoons when I go home, it’s with no small sigh of relief that I enter my gates…my sanctuary from the chaos … escape into my home… shed my corporate cloak and change into my own Ariete – Mommy skin and retreat for a time into my back yard to tend to the animals.

Here there are NO deadlines and NO pretensions

It is here that I can focus on what really matters.

I think about the people struggling to survive the Earthquakes in Nepal not knowing whether their loved ones have survived or not.

I think about the women in Africa that live in mud huts, walk for four (4) hours a day just to Collecting Water a Daily Chore for their homes.

I think about the Young Girls lives Destroyed whose lives are being destroyed by ISIS.

I think about the Farmers and their families attacked.that are being butchered almost daily, often for nothing more than their mobile phones and some cash.

I think about the many “Missing men and woman.” whose photos are displayed on my Face Book daily and wonder where they are.

I think about the Children who are abused and hidden from the world, having to face their nightmare existence alone.

I think about the thousands of Young People swept up in the wave of drug abuse.

I think about the homeless, abandoned people who are invisible in plain sight.

I think about the elderly, alone and lonely and some even suffering from Unspeakable abuse by their own caregivers.

I think about the animals that suffer in cages, just because mankind has no mercy left.



Another day has passed and I haven’t in anyway touched even one of those lives… not even in a thought or prayer because I have been too busy with my life for the day. I secretly am ashamed to admit to myself that I am relieved that I am not in a disaster situation, not knowing where my loved ones are, that’s it’s not my loved one that is missing…that I have running water all the way into my home.

I imagine having a conversation with the unknown women in Africa who walk for miles, with heavy water cans, just to supply water daily to their homes and I wonder what they would say to me about my life. I wonder what the mother, whose baby girl, was sold by ISIS as a sex toy, would say were she to know what trivialities I fret about from day to day, in comparison to her.

During this time of reflection, prayer, admonishing myself for having my priorities all wrong, I watch my animals and notice in their actions an example of real godliness and my senses are filled and overpowered by the “Amazing Grace” of God.

Lamb Chops, my sheep does not have a single evil bone in her body and I don’t think she has many thoughts, if any, but she approaches me boldly every afternoon, bleating her welcome and fully expecting that I will have some treat in my hand for her to eat. She reminds me daily that my Shepherd is ever near, ready to provide and protect me…and yet I am not nearly as bold as she is, because I know He sees my thoughts and heart and like Adam and Eve, I want to hide. Then a soft breeze brushes across my skin and I become aware that the Grace of God is resting on me, because He knew that I would fail, so He came and saved me, despite me.

“Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.” The Message

Spit Braai, my goat, charges at me enthusiastically every time he sees me, always excited to see that I am home and pressing into my legs closely, expecting to be rubbed and loved. He has no apologies for being alive and struts his stuff among the other animals, clearly very confident that he belongs in this community. He reminds me that I too am a part of the Body of Christ and yet where is my confidence? As a member of the Body of Christ, I am His Ambassador right here and now in this very evil world. Yet, I spend my energy and time on things that will not stand the test of time. Shamefully, I cast my eyes down and see a trail of ants, working tirelessly and I am reminded that like these ants, my God neither slumbers nor sleeps and He is working in me, daily transforming me into the image of Christ. His Grace is sufficient for me.

Psalm 145:8“God is all mercy and grace— not quick to anger, is rich in love.” The Message

When I bring out the bowl of corn and feed, from the shed I am quite literally surrounded by 101 assorted chickens, ducks, geese and assorted livestock. The welcoming calls of poultry, blended with the sheep, goats, donkey’s and horse all knowing they are about to be fed are like food for my soul. As my senses absorb the sounds and smells my soul soars with delight, because these chickens and ducks and geese, remind me that despite being the most vulnerable of all they bravely get up every day, peck their way around the garden, cluck warnings at their chicks, while roosters challenge one another for territory. Yet at feeding time, all are collectively standing side by side waiting for their feed. None of them grudges the other the space or the food. I am reminded that in Gods Kingdom all are created equal and each of us has a unique niche to fill. Once again His Grace swoops in on the menagerie of beautiful soul enriching sounds to assure my soul that He is ever present.

Matthew 6:33  “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied withgetting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met” The Message

Clasie and Eee-Or, my donkey’s arrived at my small holding wild and mistrusting. I don’t know what happened to them at their previous home and it has taken me several weeks to patiently coax them nearer to accept carrots from my hands. They remind me that my Saviour also patiently and lovingly had to coax me nearer while I obstinately watched and ignored the outstretched hand. Yet He has never gave up on me… No matter how I fail I can always turn around and see His outstretched Hand offering me and my loved ones eternity.

“I call Heaven and Earth to witness against you today: I place before you Life and Death, Blessing and Curse. Choose life so that you and your children will live. And love God, your God, listening obediently to him, firmly embracing him. Oh yes, he is life itself, a long life settled on the soil that God, your God, promised to give your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” The Message

Cuquinha, my miniature horse jealously and zealously guards me. According to her I belong solely to her and she doesn’t really like anyone in “our” space which is all around me, yet she reminds me that I am surrounded at all sides by the Grace and Mercy of God. He jealously and zealously guards my heart and I am His alone. His Child…His Creation… Nothing and no one can separate me from His Love, no not even me and all of my failings…
And so when I am done with my soul reflection, and spirit revival I am restored, revived and  able to step back into my house and love my people hard and well and vulnerably and completely, knowing that despite the evil and horror in the world, God is still in control. He still has the whole world in His hands. His Grace and Mercy are sure and certain for all who turn to Him and trust Him.

I can offer my people and the people I meet and work with every day the same grace and mercy that have been freely given to me. I may not have two cents to rub together but I am wealthy beyond words... because my God Lives!!!

Do you like me sometimes feel so overwhelmed by the things going on in this world that you shrink within yourself and try to avoid facing and thinking about all the evil. Sometimes I think my heart can't stand to hear or see another evil thing.  We can relax because God is in control...we can't fix anything... we can only offer our love and compassion where we are on a daily basis. Sometimes, it is enough to start with that one person in your life… We can’t save the world.
*Hugs* till next time.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Modern Day Samaritan Woman

Mothering my Mother, Mother’s Day, “Mothering Do ‘Over’s…”

Now that my Mother is living with me and is also a sufferer of Dementia/ Alzheimer’s and also recently had two (2) falls in which she broke both her left hip and right femur. I find myself as “Mother to my Mother”. 

This is both challenging and heart rending at the same time. I expressed in another blog that I really wanted to have a Mothering Do Over, but perhaps I wasn't specific enough, because here I find myself with a wish granted, yet not quite in the way I had imagined.

Once again with no manual, I am navigating a new concept of mothering. A new kind of normal. My mother is totally dependent on me for everything, and although she is now the “Oldest” of my children at 78, she is also the “Youngest”…Much like a two (2) year old.

She has memory lapses due to the disease and this causes her to struggle to communicate her needs clearly. Sometimes, she simply cannot remember the correct vocabulary she requires to express what she would like. Then just like any two year old she will become frustrated and irritable, because I do not understand what she needs.

1.   I have found that in trying to anticipate her needs in advance has helped to prevent some of these unpleasant tantrums.
2.    I have also built up a handy mental vocabulary list of my own and throw in a few random words, while she is trying to find a word, occasionally getting it right and preventing the frustration.

Due to her Alzheimer’s, she is also very restless and changes her mind frequently. One minute she wants to be up in her wheelchair, and in the kitchen with the family, which means helping her to get up, into her wheelchair, carting along whatever she would like to take with her. This activity alone could easily take an half an hour to accomplish. Then after we have her in the kitchen, she will change her mind and rather be back in her room watching something on telly.

1.    I have found that giving her something to do while in the kitchen usually helps her to feel more included in the activities, so I will hand her the grater and some cheese (or carrots) and bowl and ask her to grate it for me. This activity will usually take her a while and whatever is grated can easily be placed into a container in the fridge for another time, if not needed immediately.

Many a night has been spent up keeping her company because of her restlessness which keeps her awake and moody. Due to Sundowner’s Syndrome which accompanies Altzheimer’s  these nights are sometimes tense and irritable, as she is demanding but cannot articulate what is bothering her. I don’t think that she even knows. These are also particularly difficult, as I have to be up at 4am in the morning for work and cannot help counting the hours of sleep remaining that are being lost due to this condition. I cannot leave my mother alone, as like any two year old she is unpredictable, so there is no telling what she may do when unsupervised.

1.    I have found that keeping her awake (with short naps in-between) and productively active during the day assists in keeping her sense of worth intact. (Helping to fold the laundry, chop up veggies for supper, and any other age appropriate chore, that we can give her to do). Having been up and active also assists in helping her to be naturally tired when the evening comes.

2.    It also helps to be calm and patient when she seems to be restless and agitated. Having a meaningless argument that has no real purpose of focus never resolves anything. A set routine makes a huge difference as well. Because mom forgets things so quickly, it helps to have a set routine that is strictly adhered to. It became familiar to her and she felt at ease, as there are no changes and she felt that she had some control in knowing what was next.

3.    I also have a handy note book, that I keep record all kinds of things in for her. She keeps this book with her, even when she moves around the house. In it, we record all kinds of information, such as family member’s birthdays for the day, as well as any decisions or conversations we had. If she feels that she has forgotten something important she can consult her book and immediately be reminded of recent events, etc. This has also helped in keeping her calm and given her a sense of being in control.

4.    I announce at least thirty minutes before bed time that it will soon be bedtime, in order to prepare her for the change to come and try to anticipate whether she will be thirsty or peckish in that time, so that I can give her something to eat or drink beforehand.

5.    Finally, when I do help her to prepare for bedtime, I try to calmly and slowly get her tucked into her bed, remove her glasses and give her, her night time medication. 

The final thing of the day is the kiss on the forehead. That kiss seems to be like the full stop of the day, helping her to understand that it is now time to sleep. Just like my babies used to love being cuddled and kissed when being tucked in for the night, so too does my mom.

My Mothering Do Over, has happened in a way I have never anticipated and I have had to learn a lot during the past few weeks; however, I have to mention that despite all the challenges, I look for and appreciate every tiny “open window” that mom and I have together in which she is lucid and present with me…In those times I am the daughter again… and in between... I Mother my Mother….

Do you like me find yourself with a whole new normal, so different from anything you ever imagined? We never imagine that our parents will one day be dependent on us, or rather we never quite imagine how really heart rending it is until we are faced with it. How have you coped? Have you done things not mentioned here which could help us and others? Please leave your comments. It’s always helpful to know that we are not alone in difficult situations.

*Hugs* till next time.


Modern Day Samaritan Woman

Step - Mothering, Mother’s Day, “Mothering Do ‘Over’s…”

If you have read some of my other blogs you will know that I am a Step-Mom, and as a Step Mom…I have similar, yet different challenges to overcome.  

Unfortunately, I don’t have a handy “How To” Manual, neither do I have a magical mirror to consult, so I have to “Step – Mother” in the dark and find my way through this very new ground. 

Step Mothering is the easiest and yet the most challenging role I have ever played.

It’s been my experience that Step-Mothering is really very easy, not differing that much from mothering my own children and yet extremely difficult, as there are invisible boundaries, that have been set that I cannot step over or change. Yet, I have possibly the most amazing Step Children ever. I adore them and wish the same for them that I want for my own children. 

They probably have it easier than my own children had, due to the fact that I have now obtained knowledge and wisdom along the way and am obviously in a better position to know what matters most…

So how do I fare, with all this wisdom?

While I want to spend time with them, get to know them and adore them…I walk into the house from work and throw a fit, because there are dishes in my sink, or grass trailing across my living room carpet. Instead of spending time, growing bonds and tightening the heart strings around each child, I worry more about whether a towel has been hung up after use….

What is the matter with me???

Have I not just in the previous blog laid out exactly what matters to me in the end? So why can’t I just skip over the parts that don’t matter and focus on what does matter?

I personally think it’s easier to mentally “Mother” that in actual person. I have no idea if this is true, but it’s the conclusion I have come to after spending some time wondering why I can’t take my own “Good” advice. 

Mentally, I am an amazing Mother…

But Clearly In Practise I Have A Lot To Learn…

*Hugs* till next time.


Modern Day Samaritan Woman

Mothering, Mother’s Day, “Mothering Do ‘Over’s…”

 Mothering, Mother's Day, Mothering Do Over's

So Mother’s Day has now passed and yes I’m aware that I’m almost a week late, but that seems to be the common thread in my life at this moment…always a few days late, a few steps behind, a few tasks moved over to the another day…I have learnt that I really don’t have to have it all together every single day…Some things can wait till tomorrow, because God has the World in His Hands…I do not need to fuss…

When I was asked what I would like for Mother’s Day, I answered in the same way that I have done for many years… “Nothing, just love me every day, because I am a mother every day…not just on this one day”. But, during private reflection I realized that I would really have loved a “Mothering Do Over”.

Mothering made me the Woman I am today!!!

Of all the things I have done and experienced in my life the most fulfilling and wonderful thing was being a mother. I would like to think that I was a fairly good mother, but were I to have a “Do Over”. I would spend more time simply being present in my children’s life instead of fussing over chores and tidiness. Wanting to be the BEST MOTHER ever I thought it was necessary to do it all, every single day and be absolutely perfect at it.  I never understood that, that very annoying “Perfect Woman” in Proverbs 31…didn’t do it all in the same season of her life, but rather progressively, as her seasons changed. I wish I had known this sooner.

There is no way to be the perfect Mother, but a million ways to be a good one!!!

With hindsight I remember our trips to the library and coming back home to pour over new books and information together, and yet the memory of whether my kitchen floor was mopped or not is illusive. I simply do not care to remember because it’s not important anymore…Perhaps it never really was.

I remember the heart warmth and sense of well-being we felt, while sharing a cool drink in the afternoons, in our back yard, when my children planted seeds and re-potted plants rather than whether the dishes in the sink was washed or not. Again, it’s just not important enough.

I have warm memories of long discussions with my children regarding God and His Mercy & Grace, how we were called to live and serve, which helped us all to grow, feel connected and left us feeling so blessed, much more than whether the laundry was done or waiting to be done.

And so, in light of this!!!    

I would really love to have a do over in order to focus more on that which matters.

Yes! it matters whether the house is at least clean enough to be healthy and yes we need clean clothes to wear and clean crockery to eat with; but all these things fade in comparison to the heart connections we have with our children during the growing up years. 

Those are the only memories that matter in the end. 

Those are the thoughts which warm a Mommy’s heart when she feels the ache of an empty nest.

Those are the memories that motivate a Mommy to her knees to pray and pray more for her grown up children as they face their life’s challenges as adults…navigating the unknown.

These are the things that add value to all the accomplishments and myriad of activities a Mommy has done in her life. 

The memory of those little people who tested and stretched that Mommy to be the really best. 

So to my two wonderful children, “Thank you for making me ‘Mommy’. Without you I would never have known the absolute joy of being a mother. I also would never have known just how far and wide a mother’s love can stretch…Because of you and despite my many, many failures, while I muddled through mothering you…I proudly can say “ I am a Mother” on Mother’s Day and claim that victory with all the other Mommy’s.

And in His wonderful mercy and Grace, God gave me the desire of my heart…because I do get to do a “Mothering Do Over”

See my next blog to find out how and more importantly, how I fare, with all my new wisdom and knowledge.

As a Mommy do you also want to be the very best, have a perfect home, healthy happy kids and all your ducks in a row and realize that sometimes it’s all just too much? Relax the Proverbs 31, didn’t do it all in her 20’s. 30’s or 40’s….She did it all during the entire span of her lifetime, all things were accomplished in their own season.

*Hugs* till next time.


Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Modern Day Samaritan Woman

Birthday Boy / Testing Engine Performance/ passing milestones…

 My step son turned 18 today. Unbelievably the 14 year old boy I met 4 years ago morphed into a man before my very eyes and like all teenagers he has tested my patience and endurance at every conceivable opportunity he could find. (and probably will continue to do so). Equally he has been a source of endless pleasure and love.

Proverbs 23:15 – 16 “Dear child, if you become wise, I’ll be one happy parent. My heart will dance and sing to the tuneful truth you’ll speak”.

This is my “Boy/Man” and I am so very proud of him.

He is adventurous, ready to test and try just about everything and he believes he is invincible. This boy of “mine” is able to take an engine or gear box apart and reassemble them in next to no time at all. At the drop of a hat he is able to mix, bake and decorate a birthday cake and/or prepare a a-la-carte meal. He is so versatile that he is more than able to take care of himself…... 

Yet!!! As he stands on the threshold of manhood I want to wrap him up in bubble wrap, put him in a box and hide the box in my handbag to keep him safe.
I’m so aware of the possible/probable challenges he is going to face.

  • ·         The euphoria of real love and the very real physical pain of rejection.
  • ·      The stress of finding a suitable job and the pleasure of finding his own apartment and paying his own.
  • ·         The mundane and tedious task of getting up every solitary morning and plodding off to work when he would much rather be at home, snug in bed.
  • ·         The decisions he has to make all by himself because he is the one who has to live with his choices.

A few months ago this boy of mine was particularly difficult and we seemed to be in conflict several times a day. So, I asked him what the problem was. Why was he testing the boundaries I had set, because surely by now he should have realized they weren't going to budge?

He answered almost immediately and with a very cheeky smile he said that just as all vehicles have to occasionally be run hard on the open road just to check whether the engine was performing at optimal level, so too was he just checking to see whether 

“Mom” was operating at optimal level.

Well he is just about ready to spread his wings and fly, as did his step siblings ahead of him and his safety net will always be in place….

And this mom is proud…and fearful because with every passing day he is stepping closer to flying from the nest all together.

Happy Birthday Andrey!!! You are a blessing and loved beyond words.

*Hugs* till next time.