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Posts Tagged ‘Friendship’

Time Out

time out‘Time-out’ is often considered a punishment, a moment to reflect, consider what you have done, say sorry and move on.

I’ve not been naughty of late (well not very). In fact I have been caught up in the blessings and busyness of having a daughter and her young family move back home during a marriage break up. This has been a very special time for us even though it comes with a lot of added stress. A close friend of mine was also diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer just before Christmas, and I seem to have been swept along with the added responsibilities and challenges that this season in my life has created.

Today as I looked at the image on the right I could imagine the sand on my feet, smell the sea in the air and hear that niggling little voice that said, ‘Come, sit awhile. Rest. Give yourself a bit of your own good advice’.

It made me think that if I was in ‘Time-Out’, my current misdemeanour, would be one of self neglect as I struggle to reset my timetables and squeeze in just one more thing. The trouble being that ‘The one more thing’, has grown on a daily basis. So here I am, pondering my thoughts, writing them down and sharing them with you, my blogging family.

time out 2A very wise friend told me back in December, that the best way to be supportive and deal with any crisis situation, is to ‘Under promise and over deliver’. At the time I thought ‘Wow, that is a brilliant bit of advice’. Sadly I had let it slide and I found myself making promises that I was struggling to keep up with.

‘Time-Out’ is exactly what I have needed to have. Now I will complete the promised tasks, take one step back and watch my words. They will still be words of encouragement and my heart will still be eager to help. I just wont over promise those things that I may struggle to deliver. It may be in my ability or time frame to go that extra mile on some occasions, and when I do it will be an added bonus.

The choice is easy really.

I can be a mum and friend that offers realistic support in a warm and caring environment, or a crazy woman who is fried to a crisp, suffering from burn out. The  char-grilled edges don’t suite me either.

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With the decision to start blogging in June this year, I feel as though I have been embraced by an extended family of writerly friends. It has been a Roller Coaster journey into the unknown, one where I have come across some amazing people, corresponded with folk from all around the world and more than once felt totally out of my depth.

I would like to thank those of you who chose to follow my blog, numbers were important in those early days and it spurred me on to watch them grow. The encouraging messages that were left have also been a great blessing to me, some weeks, when I wondered what on earth I was trying to achieve, someone always had the right word to say.

As we come towards the close of 2012, I’d like to wish you love, joy, peace and happiness for the Christmas season and pray that 2013 is filled with more of the same.

christmas in australiaI’ll catch up with you all again in the new year.

God bless

Sandie

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Last week I started one of my days early, catching up with an author friend for breakfast. It seems to be the only time of the day we can sensibly get together, if you can call 7am sensible. Apart from sharing our personal highs and lows, we had a great discussion on the merits and problems of social media.

It was over one of our breakfast meetings back in June, that I was persuaded to start a blog, on another occasion I left our local Dome Cafe and created a Facebook page, just for my writing. On this occasion she left and set up a Twitter account, after I said I had just become a signed up Twitterer. Together we spur each other on and always part, ready to aim for the stars.

Blogging has been an immensely rewarding way to connect with people outside of my normal peer group and I am amazed at the number of people I feel a special connection to as I read through their writings.  But I do recognise that it is important to maintain the love and comradeship of my flesh and blood friends. Those who have stood by me when I’ve needed a shoulder to cry on, laughed when I’ve retold a silly story and will turn up on my doorstep with a single phone call.

I do wonder, how everyone finds enough hours in the day to maintain their working careers, family life, as well as sustain their internet profiles. It seems highly probable to me, that it has the capability of obsession like proportions, consuming several hours a day,  considering some of the more prolific writers out there in Blogosphere.

As for me, I need my circle of friends. I’ve also decided that coffee, eggs and bacon taste so much better when you’re with good company. Breakfast anyone?

P.S. This heart stopping fry up, is not what we ate our way through that morning, but it was served up at a transport cafe during one of our visit to the UK. I’d seen nothing like it before or since, hence the photo.

© Sandie’s Snippets 2012

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I was recently invited to join to join a special group of prayer warriors.  Accepting their invitation was an honour, as I have been navigating a new direction in my life and pioneering new pathways into the arena of becoming a published Christian Writer. Their wisdom, support and encouragement, has been wonderful and fully compliments the guidance and friendships that have formed at my local writing group.

As with most things spiritual, it seemed that as soon as I discovered some clear guidance and direction on the areas to work in, that my family and close friends have come under attack. This has resulted in a major attempt to squash my spirit and send me off track, hindering what I believe God has directed me to do.

Asking this group to pray for a peace to sweep through my home, my family and close friends seemed rather petty, especially in light of what several of them are going through. But I asked anyway. I am pleased to report, that since requesting their prayers, a peaceful presence has returned to my home and I have been able to remain focused on the task at hand.

It seems to me, that one of the key lessons I have learnt over the last couple of weeks is to cast pride aside and ask for help. My stubborn independence, and a reliance on my own storehouse of faith is fine most of the time, but we all need our community of like-minded people, who can support us on the days when we limp along.

This has made me aware of how predictable I have become in most facets of every day life. So far 2012 has been a year of change. Spiritually I have been sitting, resting and waiting for God’s voice to direct me. Now I am forging a new pathway, but using all my past experiences and behaviours in an attempt to build the way forward.

Funnily enough, as I was typing these thoughts in an email, I had a sense of being in God’s presence, He was smiling down on me, shaking His head and telling me it was about time I woke up to that one. ‘Nice one Lord,’ I thought.

These thoughts do raise a question. How many of ask for prayer when facing the big situations and forget that God is interested in every facet of our lives?

Why not give prayer a go.

© Sandie’s Snippets 2012

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There is a verse in the Bible that says, ‘Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing’. It can be found in, 1 Thessalonians 5:11, where the Apostle Paul wrote to the Church at Thessalonica. Wouldn’t it be nice to hear those words said about us. That we are known for encouraging one another and building one another up in our day-to-day lives?

I recently came across a little story that I wrote back in 1988. It reminded me of the all the kind words and encouragement that I have received over the years. And, I am thankful to say, I am still receiving.  It is an Analogy of what I believe encouragement can look like.

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Imagine you are a candle glowing in the darkness, surrounded by a multitude of unlit candles. For each candle you light, you give value and purpose to each one. They in turn can choose to share their light with a few more. Before long all the candles could be lit, giving off a brilliant glow and bring a warmth to all those who come near.

However, the winds of change and conflict rarely stops blowing and while many candles just flicker in the breeze, others die out. This leaves them with nothing to hold onto and so they are unable to give anything of themselves to those around.

This is when the biggest choice has to be made. As a candle do you sit around feeling smug at your own resilience, glorying in your triumph? Or, do you reach out, touch your fellow candle and reignite their flame?

Friendship can be a wonderful place to shelter in, to keep our hearts aflame when the tough times come, they can also spark us into action when we give up on ourselves.

Who knows which direction the wind will blow from next.

To stay alive in ourselves we need to keep the flame of life glowing in others.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone and see how many people you can encourage along the way. 🙂

© Sandie’s Snippets 2012

 

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Reading from Eph 3:17 (Living Bible).When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Reading this verse I was reminded of a devotional message I wrote and gave many years ago. I was a fairly new Christian back then, but the relevance of the word for that season in my life, holds the same value for today. At the time, I lived on a property that had a small winter creek flowing through the bottom of the garden. The banks were planted with various shade loving plants, all sitting under the bows of majestic gums, towering pines and European Willows.

When a friend visited for coffee one day, we sat on the back veranda enjoying our time together when she suddenly said, ‘Just look at that row of tree, they are all so different but create a beautiful picture. A bit like all of us at Church’. I had to agree. Some were tall and straight, some were ugly and gnarled, some had leaves and some didn’t, yet they did indeed form a striking sight. Her insight was a true reflection of what it is to be in community, with a large body of believers.

However I went one step further as I explained that the trees were growing along a creek bed, where they could all draw on a fresh supply of water. Most did and thrived, but the Willows were shallow rooted and during the summer months, when the creek dried up, so did they, dropping all of their leaves. Not established deep enough into the ground, I started to hand water my beloved trees. Slowly though, I began to realize they were turning their roots upwards for the tap water, becoming more and more reliant on me to supply their needs.

It grieved me for the next two summers as I continued to watch them struggle, their green canopy shrivelling before its time, dying for lack. The third year the leaves yellowed and held on, then in the fourth year we relished the green shelter, protecting smaller plants from the harsh Australian sun.

Like those trees, we also need to put down deep roots into Gods word, so that when those dry times come we won’t faint or become weary. We are at our most productive when we are established firmly in all that God has provided for us.

A person rooted in God can stand tall through many storms.

© Sandie’s Snippets 2012

 

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I asked for a little rain and a bit of sunshine to help me grow into something new. What I have actually received this morning though, is a bolt of lightening and a thunderous roar.

‘Where are you going with your Blog? When am I going to read your next Post?’ I was asked.

And out it all poured; My insecurities, My questioning. My whole writing potential being challenged.

True friendships are like a good thunder storm. They clear the air, help you to see straight. Setting you back on your course with softly spoken words of encouragement and an expectancy.   An expectancy that I want to live up to.

So here I am, at the start of a new day, adding to my Blog.

A breakfast meeting with my highly respected author friend is a great way to set me up for a creative day.  🙂

© Sandie’s Snippets 2012

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