Sparrows and Storms

I need to warn you that this is a rather long post. And because of the content, some may struggle with it – and that’s okay ❀ But my hope is that somewhere in here, you will be encouraged and know that you are loved too.


What a week it has been! Yet again! It would seem that the ‘weather of life’ for me has chosen to be stormy. But my boat still floats πŸ˜‰
Despite outside judgements, and raised eyebrows because ‘there is no way she could be for real’, I have decided to completely embrace and love this part of me that has blossomed the last few months – the part that still really has peace in my soul, and joy in my heart, even though my floating boat looks like it may lose a plank πŸ˜› πŸ˜‰

I have a story in a story to share with you.. but before I do, I need to give you some background.

In my town, we all know it is risky to drink the water from our taps. Our failing infrastructure and inadequate water treatment plants makes it that way. I think the last cholera outbreak in my town was about seven years ago… but a study done in 2019 pretty much confirmed we’re heading for the next one. Sigh. Then again, maybe not. Because we are currently in a serious drought and dam levels are falling, fast. Based on current capacity, we may not have water in our taps by October. Some areas in a neighbouring town, which is a lot larger than mine, are already experiencing this.
And these are in ‘major towns and cities’. (Many rural areas have not had access to water for far too many years – but that’s a whole other story entirely!) But I digress….

SO! Three times a week, I visit a small family owned water shop, to purchase purified water. I have to go so often, because I can only carry 10 litres in each hand a time πŸ˜› (I am a water baby, as are my kids… so we drink a lot of water – my first thought about the threat of taps running dry was not showering or flushing the loo… but what on earth am I going to drink!!!)
I started going to this particular shop about three years ago now, and at first I was just a customer.
Then one Monday I walked in, and the young lady (she’s my age πŸ˜› ) named Vee, who is always there working with her dad, was all alone. The shop was busy that day, and so I got my water and went on my way. Two days later, she was alone again. This time, it was just her and I, and so I asked, ”Where’s Dad? Gone on holiday?” Tears filled her eyes, and she could barely get the words out, as she told me that he had had a heart attack and was in the ICU at a nearby hospital and it didn’t look good. This was pre-Covid, so I grabbed her and gave her a long hug. I watched her shop while she went to the bathroom to compose herself, and when I left, I gave her my number in case she needed anything.
I stopped in there the next day, with a chocolate and a little note of encouragement for her, and asked how her dad was. There was no change.
On my Friday fill up, I took her another bar of chocolate (because chocolate always helps) and I was thrilled to see a huge smile on her face, and be told that Dad was out of ICU and improving steadily!
She messaged me on the Sunday, excited to let me know that she was on her way to fetch him – he was coming home. And to thank me for my encouragement and caring.
And a friendship was born.
With the pandemic, her dad stays home these days. But every now and then, he drops something off for her and I happen to be there, and I get to say hi.
Vee and I have never gone out for coffee, or visited at each other’s homes – but there are times where filling my water means filling my tummy with a cuppa too – and I’ll end up spending a whole hour there sometimes. So we are friends – just not ”social” friends πŸ˜›

Now for the story in a story…

At the beginning of last week, she gave me this bookmark she had made for me.

The writing on it says : ”Not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. (Matthew 10:29-31)”

You’ll also notice the coin randomly stuck on it next to the bird. It is a one cent piece – which stopped being minted in my country in 2002. They are a VERY rare find these days – they are not valuable, as such, but you just don’t see them anymore.

What happened was this :
Vee closed up shop on the Saturday at lunchtime and was sweeping the floor, when out from under a display counter came this small one cent coin. As she picked it up, she has no idea why, but she thought of me. She slipped it in her pocket and forgot about it. She found it again later that evening, and put it on her dressing table.
On Sunday morning, her online church sermon was based on the verse above from Matthew, about the sparrow. Again she thought of me. (I really struggle with my self esteem, sigh. It’s utterly ridiculous!)
So she set about making the bookmark for me, as a reminder to me that I truly am loved! She put the bookmark on her dressing table and happened to glance at the one cent coin. To her surprise, the picture on that particular coin was two sparrows!!!! So of course she simply HAD to attach it to my bookmark! And boy, did she have a story to tell me! πŸ˜‰
Later that evening, curiosity got the better of her, and she did some research… and it gave her ANOTHER story to tell me!

The story she found was posted by someone named MEGAN!! And to prove I am not making it up, I will share the screenshots of the story as my way of telling it to you πŸ˜‰

I may be in the midst of really stormy weather. I might still struggle with my self esteem and find it hard to believe and feel the good things about myself.

But I am grateful that something I never have to doubt is what I KNOW, despite how I feel…
I am valuable and I am loved.
And I hope you all know that too, dear friends!
❀ (Even in the times when we may not feel it!)

What’s your superpower?

I’m sure we all have many πŸ˜‰ except they wouldn’t get us into any comic books πŸ˜›

I read this little story again this morning, and wanted to share it with you :

”A well-respected speaker began a seminar by showing an audience of 150 people a crisp $20 bill. He asked, β€œWho wants this $20 bill?”

All 150 people nodded.

He said, β€œI am going to give this money to someone, but first….” Then he proceeded to crumple the bill up.

He asked the crowd again if anyone wanted it.

All 150 hands went up in the air.

The speaker then dropped the money on the floor and stomped all over it.

He then raised it in the air to show the crowd. The money was filthy.

β€œDoes anyone want it now?”

Every hand went up.

The speaker proceeded to tell the crowd that no matter what he did to ruin the money, people still wanted it because its value remained the same. It was still worth $20.

The moral of the story?

Life often beats us up to the point where we feel inadequate. We deal with bad circumstances and make bad choices that we have to deal with later. However, no matter what you go through,Β your value will remain the same. You have something special to offer that no one can take away from you.

Here’s hoping that you all remember, no matter what, you STILL HAVE VALUE! You are still worthy! You are incredible! And….

So keep trying to be the best version of you that you can be πŸ˜‰

Christmas Every Day

This season is a very demanding time for me. It reaches beyond my children, and the usual chaos of Christmas. Many reach out – because although it’s the season to be jolly, the reality is that it is also a painful time for many – sometimes at the drop of a hat.

As a child, I spent a lot of time with my maternal grandparents. Granny and Grampie (my names for them) were wonderful, in more ways than just regular great ‘grandparents’ are. They introduced me to many of life’s treasures : the arts, theatre and musicals, classical music and music in general, singing,Β  Scrabble and crosswords, books and poetry and writing. But the greatest treasures they gave me were their time, and lessons of love and kindness and respect for all.Β 
Growing up, I was a ‘drama queen’ – but not in the sense that I made much ado about nothing. More in the sense that I loved everything to do with Dramatic Arts. I took private drama lessons, and appeared in every school show I could. Grampie used to say I was his ‘little Anne’, because a lot of my reactions as a child came from hours of watching Anne of Green Gables with my grandparents.
When I was eight, my parents took me to see the musical ‘Hello, Dolly’, at the theatre in Cape Town. (We were there to move my brother into his residence for university.)
When it was over, I paused at the top of the flight of stairs on the way out. Surrounded by people, I made my descent slowly and purposefully, imitating Dolly in the show, singing at the top of my lungs, “Hello, Meggie… well, hello, Meggie… it’s so nice to have you back where you belong….”

Being a dramatic young soul, it surprised no one that my favourite story was ‘The Little Match Girl’ by Hans Christian Anderson. I had a large book filled with his stories, but those particular pages were almost grubby, having being visited so many times. Although the story is set on New Years Eve, it was one that was read by me, and to me, all year long – but multiple times during the week leading up to Christmas. As an adult, I have struggled to understand how anyone could read it to me without crying. Because as an adult, each time I read it, the lump in my throat makes it difficult to read out loud – my breath catches in my throat and the tears flow when I am close to the end. Sobs escape, and I pause many times. I have yet to read this story out loud to my children, without frustrating them at the drawn out ending – but they understand, for they struggle too.

When I was 9, Grampie and Granny added to my book collection with another omnibus of stories. The featured story in this book (as it was the title of the collection) quickly became my next firm favourite. It was a story by Oscar Wilde, entitled ‘The Selfish Giant’.
And yes, this story made me cry as well. Although it has nothing to do with Christmas, or New Year – nothing to do with this particular time of year at all – it was another story that I revisited most during Christmas preparation time. And still do, as an adult.

Because both these stories remind me of the things that Grampie, in particular, always tried to teach me. (I was about 10 when my parents split, and Grampie stepped in as a replacement dad as much as he could, when my real dad wasn’t around.)

I am grateful for this Christmas season, because somehow it makes most people more generous. But…

EVERY day is the time for peace, love and joy. EVERY day is the time for compassion and kindness. EVERY day is a time to celebrate, and wish for others the treasures that cannot be bought to be in abundance for them.

EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

But because it’s the season… my wish for you :

The true heart of Christmas (and every day we have πŸ˜› ) is one of wonder and warmth. May any holiday stress you feel fade away and be replaced with this. To those who have lost loved ones during this season, may there somehow be comfort for you. To those who have little, may you be given more. And may we all show kindness and love, and be shown it in abundance too! Merry Christmas to all!

78477153_10158205607824009_3200521101113294848_n