BooksWith a good leadership team, you can be made to feel as though you have received a promotion as well as being given  a 100% pay rise, when in actual fact you remain a volunteer.

Volunteering has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I love the thrill of meeting new people, discovering their stories and feel privileged to gift my time, even though I sometimes struggle to juggle my week.

I manage a small library of around 2,000 books within the Church I attend. We also have a corner with books that we sell to help purchase new books for our shelves. It has been a dream of mine for many years, that the area could be a Book Shop/Library /Cafe, a place of nurture for anyone who walked through the doors. Now, after years of dreaming, plans are coming together, walls are coming down and the space is being created.

This concept was conceived eleven years ago and during this time I have carried my vision carefully, guarding and growing the dream . Over the coming few months I think it may be like experiencing ‘Labor Pains’, as all the hard work begins.

It has reminded me that many of us sit on good ideas for a long time before they become a reality. Patience being a difficult virtue for many of us to develop, even though it is a great resource for our personal growth. 

There is a verse in the Bible that says, ‘Without a vision the people perish’. I have found this to be true in all aspects of life. When you turn your back on something or someone, it feels as though a light is turned out and discouragement rules the day.

My mum use to say. ‘Aim for the stars and you may fall short. Aim for the gutter and you will land in it every time.’ 

Whatever is going on in your life at the moment, hold onto your dreams, maintain your vision, work towards your goal.

No one can accomplish that dream like you can. Continue to nurture it because one day it could be your reality.

(c) Sandie’s Snippets 2014



Motivation. A word of empowerment that is often elusive, hiding behind a long list of excuses.

My list has been substantial of late, and while the reasons have been honest, tangible and time-consuming, the results created confusion, apathy and a feeling of being completely overwhelmed. As I write this, I have realized how tired I had become and how much I am benefiting from my new regime of walking and taking time out for me.

Last week I was set the task of creating an Acrostic Poem using the word motivation as the prompt. I thought I’d share it with you, along with a photo I took some years ago of Forget-Me-Nots. The two connecting,  reminding me to move forward, reach for the stars and enjoy the journey.


All Dried Up

All dried upMy feet should have been getting wet when I took this picture on my Monday walk.

I was stood on the bed of a small stream that has dried up due to the lack of rain in our harsh Australian climate. While family and friends in the UK have been dealing with rain, rain and more rain, we have been drying up and cracking up, for the want of that magical stuff called water.

According to last weekends paper we have not had any rain since November, although we were teased a couple of weeks ago when the roof of our garage had a polka dot look about it. One big drip per square inch and that was it. Our excitement turned to feelings of longing, and the forecast is not predicting a change any day soon.

It has been good to walk again. The early mornings are cool enough to enjoy the air and I am starting to re-kindled the love affair with my heart and spirit as I talk to God and listen to His voice. I was reminded that if I don’t look after me, I can dry up too, just like that river bed. Feelings of self-doubt and criticism revealing itself  and, like the trees planted along the banks, I also need to grow my roots further down into the water course to draw up the moisture.

My hunger for some rain continued at Writers Group yesterday when we were asked to write a Haiku. A three-line, Japanese style poem with a syllable count of 5-7-5, which I thought I’d share it with you.

Summers searing sun

Scorching earth, frying mindscapes

Waiting for the rain.

Now it is time to put on my walking shoes and see what little gems I can discover about myself today.

(c) Sandie’s Snippets 2014

What if….

What if you woke up today with only the things you were thankful for yesterday?

This was a confronting question that popped up on a recent Facebook post, which has had me in a meditative state ever since.

The realization hit me, during 2013 life wove its hand and drew me into an alien mindscape, one where I developed a bad attitude and negative thought patterns. Enabling me to find fault, complain and remain under threat of gathering storm clouds. Expecting the deluge to pour out its wrath at any given time.

Confirmation of last years position was obvious, when I typed up the scrawled work from my 2013 creative writing journals (Something I have found very encouraging and enlightening over the years I have been writing). Short stories, poems, one liners and ‘Sandieism Quotes’, all told the tale of someone I didn’t know, a stranger, a sad person that was searching for something, someone, anyone.

This is not a place I generally reside, so I am determined to change it. Make 2014 and beyond a much brighter place to be, by letting the sun rise up each morning and deliver its warmth, light and inspiration.


The picture above has been taken in my local park, a favorite place, where I use to walk and sit at least once a week. Those walks ceased last year, as I became caught up in the busyness of everything else.

Sometimes we can get too busy and not do the things that enable us to maintain the busyness – For me, reinstating my daily walks are a necessity, not just a good idea.

Watch this space.

(c) Sandie’s Snippets. 2014

A Whispered Hello

WheatI’m not shouting from the rooftops and saying ‘I’m back to Blogging‘. Instead it is a quiet whisper to those of you who have followed my blog and been such a support over the last eighteen months.

It’s been a long time between posts. Too long on some levels and not long enough on others. Those of you who have emailed and enquired as to my whereabouts, I can’t thank you enough and you should have received a personal email. People write about their ‘Blogging Family’ and it has warmed my heart to know that people really do care and that my ramblings are missed.

My writing ventures have not ceased, instead I have wound back on everything,  in an attempt to do an internal audit and set a fresh vision. I wondered why the road I was taking seemed so confusing and confronting, why my enthusiasm had waned and eventually asked myself where God wanted me to take my skills and talents.

This confronting thought came about, when a young musician friend launched into producing an album, signed up for Twitter, Facebbook, Instantgramme and a host of other Social Media sites. Suddenly, her God given vision was interupted by the voices of her supporters, all making valid suggestions, which consumed her time and distracted her from the real task ahead.

With that revelation, I have come to understand why I cut out a few sites myself, some months back. My days of checking replies, commenting, reviewing and posting had robbed me of some or the simpler pleasures of just creating something original. Something that guided me on my journey, allowed me to be me and set my course for the future.

I am still hanging in there, with a spark of desire to start hitting the blogging keyboard again. This time I will not be in a rush to race ahead. Instead I will take it grain by grain and see where I end up.

(c) Sandie’s Snippets, 2013

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This is another image taken from my dads home. He would be horrified, if he was still alive and knew that I had posted it online, for the world to see how he lived. As much as it use to shock me into action on a return visit to the UK, I have come to the realization that it was his choice to live as he did. I took around 200 photos the day this one was taken, each image portraying the neglect and deterioration of a home and its contents.

There was a time when I wondered why on earth I had taken them. To start with it fueled my guilt of emigrating so far from this place called home, I was embarrassed that I could let my father live in these conditions. These days however, they seem to touch my more creative side and I can detach the emotions, looking at them with a more artistic eye.  Looking back, I believe I wanted to create something beautiful out of what seemed ugly and confronting. On a subsequent visit to the UK, I discovered that my nephew, who is a professional photographer, took many of the same images, compiling a book as part of a uni assignment. What he did was breathtakingly beautiful and I may atempt to do the same one of these days.

The clock reminds me that we can live a life focused on the past, or choose to make the effort and keep things moving. The worm-eaten timepiece had not been wound for years and as you can see by the holes, was slowly being devoured by Woodworm.  In life it is easy to let small things eat into our lives, causing us to stand still emotionally. Sometimes we need to take hold of situations, treat the negativity, clean up our behaviors and use our gifts and talents for the purpose they were created for.

Orphaned lambs come to mind as I see the stoneware Hot Water Bottle. Many a time on the farm, we had to care for lambs who were rejected by their mother or orphaned through a difficult birth. A large box would sit to the side of the Rayburn (wood burning oven) and this hot water bottle was used to warm up many sad and sickly babies that had spent a lonely, frosty night in the cold. I loved the lambing season and a recent trip into the country brought a huge grin to my face when a field of lambs were frolicking in the warmth of a sunny day. I might be a city chick these days, but a country girl is still in there somewhere and I very much believe, that when life throws cold and frosty experiences at us, there is nothing better than the warmth of love and friendship to get us through.

The stoneware bottle holds Pheasant feathers and I wonder why these were considered worthy of honor. We grew up on the produce of the land, so they were not rare. It is one of those little mysteries in life that I will never find the answer for and I can live with that. We all have our treasures in life, sometimes they have a huge monetary price tag and other times they hold little to no physical value. Their unique worth is in holding untold stories and secrets and I know I have a few of those myself.

Dust and cobwebs like the ones pictured don’t appear overnight. They build up over time and often get overlooked. I am reminded that I have a few projects like that. Filed away stories and pieces of poetry that need to be collated, sent somewhere and used. My NaNoWriMo effort is still waiting to be brought out into the open, get dusted down and cleaned up (edited).

My thought for the day is…

We can not buy back lost time, it is a priceless resource and we should use it wisely.


This weeks photo was taken at an old mill in Avoca, Ireland.

Catching up with family is always important when we travel, but we have taken to combining our trips with exploring new and exciting places we have not been before. On this occasion our decision was to take up the offer to visit a close friends daughter, who now lived in Bally James Duff, Cavern, Ireland.

Our trek from Devon took us North, weaving in and out of minor roads, instead of the motorway, so we could enjoy the smaller towns and the countryside. Northern Wales was breathtaking, our approach to the mountains of Snowdonia not disappointing. Hair-pin bends and views were a plenty, my camera pointing in all directions, only to be faced with better view around the next corner.

Our night in Holyhead had us surveying the bleaker landscape dotted with stone circles and ancient looking sights. Where our ‘Time Team‘ education had us marvelling at our wisdom and academic know-how, on all things ancient.

Early next morning we boarded the ferry and fortunately had a calm trip across the North Sea. The previous days crossing had been cancelled due to the rough seas, so we had a full boat, feeling like sardines, as our car was parked beside trucks and busses. We thoroughly enjoyed our boat trip and looked forward to the return trip.

Avoca was an unexpected destination, as we were headed somewhere else. The lack of accommodation had me navigating the roads, as well as scouring the brochures for a place to stay. The ‘Wooden Bridge Hotel’ caught my eye and we changed directions, finding what is reported to be the oldest hotel in Ireland. An old coaching house, at the intersection of three roads, beautifully whitewashed, with unbelievably thick cob walls and tubs of flowers, all eager to great the visitors.

Once checked in and cleaned up we took off again, Avoca being a short drive and the place where the TV series Bally Kiss Angel was filmed. I had my photo taken outside the pub, wandered the church, then came across the old mill. Once again we had discovered another ‘Oldest in Ireland’, with a plaque declaring that it was built in 1723. We spent a lovely time watching a weaver at work, then explored the gift shop, before heading off to ‘The Waters Meet’ which we’d seen sign-posted.

This place seemed to cast a spell over the two of us as we reflected on the joining of the two rivers. We were close to celebrating our wedding anniversary and many an analogy could be found as we sat on the banks, drawing in the magic and inspiration. We were not the only ones to have been inspired by the scenery here. Thomas Moore who lived in 1779-1852 wrote…..

There is not in the wide world a valley so sweet
As that vale in whose bosom the bright waters meet
Oh the last rays of feeling and life must depart
Ere the bloom of that valley shall fade from my heart
Ere the bloom of that valley shall fade from my heart

Yet it was not that nature had shed o’er the scene
Her purest of crystal and brightest of green
‘Twas not her soft magic of streamlet or hill
Oh No ’twas something more exquisite still
Oh No ’twas something more exquisite still

‘Twas that friends, the belov’d of my bosom were near
Who made every scene of enchantment more dear
And who felt how the best charms of nature improve
When we see them reflected from looks that we love
When we see them reflected from looks that we love

Sweet vale of Avoca! How calm could I rest
In thy bosom of shade, with the friends I love best
Where the storms that we feel in this cold world should cease
And our hearts, like thy waters, be mingled in peace
And our hearts, like thy waters, be mingled in peace

We were sad to leave Ireland and promised to return one of these days. Although I have a hankering to see some of Scotland on our next visit to the UK. I can already hear the Bagpipes, see men wearing Kilts and am ready to trek a glen or two.

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