Monday, 23 February 2015

Modern Day Samaritan Woman

My Valentine

To my husband,

My one and only valentine. Not only on the 14th of every year, but each and every day.
While the world buys flowers and chocolates and all those lovely things that come and fade, I choose to celebrate with you the things that do not pass….the things that carry so much weight, there is no measure. The things that matter to us both…the things that make up our lives….

For the many nights, when we lay in the dark, hand in hand side by side, discussing the future and the past…our hopes and fears…our joys and our sorrows…thank you for being there with me !!!

For sharing your bed with me and my three boisterous dogs without complaint or comment…thank you for knowing that I need to feel those tiny furry bodies close to mine as I sleep!!!

For cruel and heartless early mornings, when we are forced to get out of our cozy beds and face the days of rush hours, deadlines and seemingly endless pressures….thank you for facing it with me!!!

For the not so lovely times when my stomach is tied in knots because of mounting panic or pressure or stress…and all my toys are thrown about…thank you for calmly picking up the pieces and holding them together!!!

For the joy we share when a new baby chick hatches from an egg, to a sheep that bleats, a new born goat or a galloping horse…thank you for sharing the wonder of it all with me!!!

For that calloused hard working hand that takes mine and make me feel so safe, chosen and secure in this unstable world…thank you for sharing your strength and your courage!!!

For those blue eyes that bore into mine and speak of commitment and perseverance…thank you for that quiet assurance that you are all mine!!!

For all the bills we pay, the meals we share, the rooms we clean, the garden we grow, the children we love, the cars we repair…thank you that in all things you are always there!!!

For the many times I have taken you for granted and neglected to notice your efforts

Thank you!!! 

I love you!!!

We may not have it all together BUT 

together we sure do have it all!!!

Modern Day Samaritan Woman

Playing the Second Fiddler Gracefully

 Playing the Second Fiddler Gracefully

None of us like playing the second fiddle and yet invariably at one point or another in our lives we will find ourselves playing that second fiddle. It could be that we are playing second fiddle to a sibling, a friend, a child, a colleague or even a spouse. Invariably, someone will come along and be the “better” person.

Most often, they are not really better in terms of skill and ability; but in terms of favor, they just simply overshadow you and although you can do whatever that person does (possibly even better) you just don’t have the favor resting on you that that person has…and so you become the second fiddler.

This position tends to creep up on us. We don’t always notice that we are the second fiddler and will play along for some time, until it dawns on us. Usually when we realize that we are the second fiddler we react with disbelief and anger. It feels hurtful and unfair, particularly when it’s a recurring occurrence. Our sense of pride and achievement feels trampled and abused. The unfairness of it all seems to flood all reason and coherent thought from our minds. Waves of resentment flow through our beings not only towards the person who is “in favor” but also towards the person who is directing that favor.

How then are we to react when we are in that position? How must we respond? Ranting and raving, creating a fuss or even withdrawing won’t bring about the desired “favor” we are seeking.

Start with God:
The very first thing we should do is turn to God and hear His options about who we are. 

The only “favor” we should really be seeking is His.

Proverbs 1:7 “Start with God—the first step in learning is bowing down to God;
only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning.”

Don’t assume you know it all:

Don’t assume you know all there is to know about the heart of the person directing the favor or even the one receiving it.

Proverbs 3: 5 – 8 Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health; your very bones will vibrate with life!(MSG)

Be vigilant to your own heart & behaviour:

Don’t allow bitterness to enter you heart. Perhaps you have played second fiddle for years and have grown hard and resentful about it and the people involved. It’s so easy to close off the heart when you are forced to play the second fiddle; particularly when it’s repetitive.

Proverbs 4: 23 – 27 “Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts.
Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth; avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip. Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions. Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you. Look neither right nor left; leave evil in the dust.”(

Be cautious to check how you treat other people. 

Make sure that someone else does not feel like the second fiddler because of your unfair behavior or favor.

Remember that there were several well know characters in the bible and in history that also played the second fiddle: A lot of good in this world may never have been accomplished without the person willing to be an excellent “Second Fiddler”. The same may be true of you, right now in that position.

Sometimes we just need to obtain an attitude of being the very best “second fiddler” that we can be. God can turn all things to the good.

Have you ever found yourself to be the second fiddler? Maybe you are playing that role right now? How does it make you feel? Have you ever done the same to someone else? And if you were the best second fiddler there was, how did God use it for good.

*Hugs* till next time.


Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Modern Day Samaritan Woman

Poison Apples, Magic Mirrors, Prayer and all that Jazz

 Poison Apples, Magic Mirrors, Prayer and all that Jazz

If you have read my introduction you will know that I have been blessed with a new husband, who came along with children of his own.

This meant that the day I said

“I do”

was the day I became an instant step-mom.

However, as with all things that really matter it didn’t come with a handy “How to do & don’t ” Manual. I had to and still have to figure it out step by step.

One of the HUGE advantages of being a step mom is I get to have a “Do Over”… My own children have grown up and left home and their flight from my nest left me with a nasty case of “empty nest syndrome”. I was a home school mom for sixteen years and very involved with my children’s lives. We lived intentionally day by day, always present in the moment. Someone once said 

“The greatest gift you can give to someone was to be present with them in the moment, whatever the moment was.”

Although I am very proud that my children have grown up into productive, honest citizens producing their part for our economy (preparing them to take their part in the world was the whole point of home-schooling) I missed the growing up days.

All too soon it was over and I had mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I was delighted that I would never ever, ever have to solve another math problem again and I would never have to kill an hour or more while music, art, whatever lessons were being had (of which there were many), but on the other hand those years with my children were the most productive, amazing years of my life and they passed by too quickly. Can you believe I missed the mess and the noise and the constant rush from one thing to another? All the things I had wished would pass were the very things I missed.

Roll on June, 21st 2014 and all of the above changed and suddenly I was a mom again, with real children, demanding real attention and bringing their own peculiar brand of personality into the mix. The only difference being that these were not my own biological children. They belonged to someone else, so although I had all the “mothering instincts and skills” it was not quite the same.

Some of the challenges we faced were:
·         We didn’t have the benefit of growing up together and becoming acquainted with one another’s idiosyncrasies and habits. Something. that just happens automatically when you have your own children from birth.

·        My husband and I had different parenting techniques.

So being the practical person that I am and determined to be in the moment, intentionally living day by day alongside these wonder new and “strange” new people in my life I knew I would have to approach things in a different manner. 

What had worked and sometimes failed with my own children would not necessarily be the same with these “new children”.

I spent a lot of time thinking about the best way to approach the “Step Mom” scenario and after a short while I realized I would not be successful in any way, unless I invited God into the dilemma and simply prayed for each one of my step children, as I have done for my own children all of these years.

The question was how and what to pray for?

I decided to utilize my diary in order to keep track of my prayers and also as a self-accountability tool. I write down my prayers for all the children (mine and his) every single day. Sometimes I find it amusing because I will find myself thinking “Do you really expect God to read the prayer, or do you think He will forget what you are asking for.” I found that praying for the children gave me the advantage of foresight and additional tolerance and thanks to the Holy Spirit my prayers started to bond me to the children in ways that no “How to do” manual would. 

 Poison Apples, Magic Mirrors, Prayer and all that Jazz

“When you pray for people a change happens inside your own heart. Even as you are directing your prayers in the direction of another, it is your heart that becomes soft and malleable to the Lord and then He is able to place compassion, patience and even wisdom into your spirit for that person”.

I believe that He placed a genuine heart felt affection and love for my “new” children into my heart. This is very important because God cares a great deal about these children. They are His creation.  How I treat them and handle their hearts and concerns matters. They are as real to me and as special to me as my own are. Yet, I know this did not happen by itself or because of my “greatness” as a Mom. Prayer works in very unexpected ways.

This is all new to me, so day by day I do what I can and pray very hard and intentionally for wisdom and guidance as I go about the task of living and home making. I don’t by any means claim to be an expert and the above mentioned isn't meant to function as a “How to do & don’t” Manual. It is simply a record of my own experience at the very beginning. I have no doubt that more challenges will follow but I have discovered that prayer is the key to all challenges faced in all types of relationships.

What about you? Have you faced the same challenges? Or perhaps others? How did you as step parent bond with your step children? Or perhaps you are the step child. Do you have any words of wisdom that would enable us, the step parents to understand and love our step children better?

*Hugs* till next time.


Thursday, 5 February 2015

Modern Day Samaritan Woman
Finding beauty in the hazy fog of forgetfulness!!

Honoring Old Age

A few months ago I wrote about my mother and the challenge we were facing in old age. Its been a trying time and we continue to search for the beauty in the fading twilight years and forgetfulness. We have learnt to capture all moments and hold on to only that which is good. Communication is sometimes difficult particularly when things have to be repeated several times over. From her perspective, I realized it must be so frustrating simply not remembering whether you were informed about something or not. 

On a practical note, I started a notebook for her in which we record all conversations, all decisions reached and all future expectations in terms of birthday parties for children’s and hair appointments. I have learnt to be patient.

Honoring Old Age.

I have realized that the lot of the previously  mentioned aggression and rage was really just confusion and a genuine forgetfulness on her part.  Consequently, a panic would set in because she just could not recall or remember being notified about an event, or visit or bit of family news.  This panic would result in fear and then aggression. The note book idea was one of my better ideas yet. She can simply reread and revisit old conversations whenever she wants to and familiarize herself with the contents, decisions and on occasion even a few jokes and nice quotes included.

We now share more smiles and laughs and less confusion and mis-communication. 

One of the most beautiful things for me at this time is my mother’s smile…It makes my day every time she flashes that smile at me. On many occasion this happens at 04:30am in the morning when no one feels like smiling, but I look for that smile to see me off too work.

 Honoring Old Age

A special dedication to my mother:

 Honoring Old Age

 Honoring Old Age

"When You Thought I Wasn't Looking," by Mary Rita Schilke Korzan:

When you thought I wasn't looking
You hung my first painting on the refrigerator
And I wanted to paint another.

When you thought I wasn't looking
You fed a stray cat
And I thought it was good to be kind to animals.

When you thought I wasn't looking
You baked a birthday cake just for me
And I knew that little things were special things.

When you thought I wasn't looking
You said a prayer
And I believed there was a God that I could always talk to.

When you thought I wasn't looking
You kissed me good-night
And I felt loved.

When you thought I wasn't looking
I saw tears come from your eyes
And I learned that sometimes things hurt -
But that it's alright to cry.

When you thought I wasn't looking
You smiled
And it made me want to look that pretty too.

When you thought I wasn't looking
You cared
And I wanted to be everything I could be.

When you thought I wasn't looking - I looked...
And wanted to say thanks
For all those things you did
When you thought I wasn't looking

 Honoring Old Age

I have to confess. I was afraid to get old. Afraid that I would be forgetful and difficult; but I’m not so fearful anymore. Sometimes, having to manage something, forces you to understand it better. Facing a fear, changes it into a challenge and then in a victory.

Do you have challenges, fears and difficult circumstances? How do you manage it? Do you face it and wade right through till you reach a solution or do you avoid it? Are you perhaps a caregiver to a parent? What have you done to keep the channels of communication open? 

Please share with me.

*Hugs* till next time.