Now that I have moved past the INTRODUCTION part, I have given some consideration regarding the form this blog should take. There are a lot of options. One could go the strictly historical route. In other words, writing about the past and doing it kind of successively, from the time of my birth. Since I also have in mind to write an autobiography, hopefully pretty soon, I’m not so keen on that course.
On the other hand, one could simply do random short stories, which was an idea I rather liked. However, I think it’s quite important to include the present as well because obviously my most vivid and significant experiences would be the current ones. They have great value because they continue to shape my character and personality as my life’s journey continues. Most importantly, they include YOU!
It’s been a long-held belief of mine that each decade is marked as a firm milestone, 10 years, 20, 30, 40 etc. It holds a particular significance in who you are at that time, and where you find yourself. In your 10’s and 20’s you are mostly looking forward. By the time you reach your 60’s you are mostly looking backward.
So, I have decided that I will simply break my blog posts into two sections. THE NEWS. This will deal with the current affairs in my life. and ... THE STORY. Herein I will share stories from my past. My childhood. My teenage years. My original family life. The ministry, and whatever else yields itself to my memory. Most of all, though I don't want to get stuck on any kind of 'regime', so if I feel the need to change things, then change them I will!
I deeply hope, though, that I will succeed in benefitting your life in some way and that our journey will be a long and mutually satisfying one for each of us. The internet always intrigues me greatly because minds can meet in a very special and intimate way, yet they might be miles and miles apart.
Concerning this mutual aspect, I also hope that you will feel free to use the comment section to give feedback, because this will be very valuable to me. Obviously, having had some experience with the Slobberdogblog, I have come to realise that one simply cannot answer every comment. But every single one is read and seriously considered. There is great value in feedback because it gives shape and form to one’s future writing. Particularly, the autobiography.
It is such a unique privilege, actually, to have input into an author’s writing when you think about it. There is no other writing medium that allows that to the same degree. I wouldn’t be so arrogant as to suggest that my writing will be a fantastic success, but if you have added value to it by your comments, then you have increased its chances of succes, and it has become a partnership of sorts. Those of you who know me, already know that I am a great advocate for partnerships. I think it is the way God would have us live and share our lives.
Now that the preamble is over, I will start with this week’s news!
PAUL'S 11th Birthday
Other posts concerning Paul
|Paul Wearing his Birthday T-Shirt from his Biological Mom|
My son, Paul, celebrated his 11th birthday last Sunday, the 3rd October. This presented an enormous problem for me because Paul is a very compulsive and highly strung little boy. The word “little” here also has significance because he is very tiny for his age. He is probably about the size of a 7 year old.
He awoke extra early on Sunday morning and when I heard the clip-clop of his soccer boots marching down the passage at 4.45 am, I suspected trouble was at hand. The last time he marched down the passage with such fortitude was the day he was expecting President Jacob Zuma to accompany him to a soccer game. To demonstrate his excited anticipation for this event, he marched up to my bed and blew a vuvuzela into my sleeping face as loudly as possible!
So last Sunday morning I was duly warned by the marching of the soccer boots and already perched on my elbow when he arrived at my bedside. Thankfully without a vuvuzela! He immediately peered around the room and his face collapsed into that sombre scowl I know so well. I also knew the reason for it. There were no presents.
“Do I have any presents?” he asked.
Paul suffers from Selective Hearing. What he chooses not to hear, he simply does not hear. I had been warning him all week that his birthday celebrations would have to be postponed because there was no money in the bank for such special celebrations.
“No Pauli. I told you we will have to wait until there’s a bit of money in the bank!”
“How long is that going to take?”
“I have no idea, my boy. But I do have good news for you. Your Mom is coming to visit you today and she is bringing your cousin along. She called last night. She’s very excited because she does have a nice birthday gift for you.”
His face brightened like the sun in an instant. Then he asked curiously:
“Cousin? I have a cousin?”
“Yes, your Mom is bringing him along today.”
He did a little tap dance around the room and the lack of presents was temporarily forgiven.
Paul’s biological mother is called Bridgette. We have a “gentleman’s agreement” if you can call it that, concerning Paul. Paul is basically a special needs child. He is on all kinds of medication to keep him stable emotionally. These medicines are horrifically expensive and they would not be made available to him through a State Hospital. So he stays with me because I also have access to the most perfect school for him, called Frances Vorwerg here in Johannesburg. The story is very long and intricate and will have to become one of ‘MY STORIES’ sometime in the future.
We all traipsed off to Mass and had no sooner arrived home, or Bridgette called to be fetched from the “4-Way” as we call it. It’s basically a bus-stop about 3 Kms. from TLC and we fetch families and other friends or guests from there by car, as a courtesy.
Paul was missing when the call came, so I decided to fetch her myself and surprise him on our return. I was introduced to Cousin Dixon. A fine young man working for a Film Company here in Johannesburg.
|PAUL, SHOWING ONE OF HIS MANY COMPUTER WORKS OF ART|
Arriving back home with our guests I had no sooner introduced Paul to Dixon or he leaped up into his cousin's arms and was hugging and kissing his new-found, long-lost relative with great passion. The two of them were inseparable for the rest of the day. Dixon was absolutely amazed by Paul’s ability to draw incredible pictures on his computer by using the mouse. Everyone who has witnessed this talent has been amazed. Yet Paul cannot write his name ... P-A-U-L! Dixon immediately offered to give Paul a job as soon as he left school, because in the film-making environment artists with such abilities are highly sought after.
Bridgette had fortunately softened the blow of his birthday disappointment by buying him a Bafana Bafana Soccer t-shirt with his name printed on the back. He was absolutely thrilled with this gift! It delighted me too, then, that he didn’t receive any presents from me for a change. If he had, it would have outshone her humble gift, which it probably did, in all the previous years. I actually felt thankful at that point, that the situation was as it was.
|HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR PAULI! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!|
When Bridgette and Dixon heard that Paul had not received any gifts as per usual, and that we were not able to have the usual party for him, they were really distressed. They asked if I could run them to the local Pick ‘n Pay so they could buy a birthday cake and some goodies to celebrate with.
Of course I obliged. Paul came along and snuggled up very close to Dixon, on the back seat. I thought once again, as I do so many times a day .... You just never know what the day will bring ...
We had a great party. The kids tucked into their treats and we all sang happy birthday and Paul was pleased as Punch. We smiled all day long and danced and laughed and was deliriously happy as only Paul can be.
Two days later, Paul was fidgetting and fidgetting with something all day long. Eventually he seemed at peace but was actually nursing a blue and very colourful object. I called him over and said:
"Paul, what do you have there, my boy?" and he skipped across the room and showed me the most beautiful, hand-made gift box with a largish soccer figurine inside, a couple of miniture soccer balls, and some small charm-sized soccer figurines, all against a backing of some green felt. On the outside it was stunningly decorated. On the top right hand side was a picture he had drawn himself, and all around the box with pictures of soccer figurine toys that he had taken out of a magazine. I was stunned. I said ... "WHAT is THIS?"
|PAUL'S HOMEMADE BIRTHDAY GIFT TO HIMSELF|
Paul gave me one of those sweet, innocent smiles of his and replied.
"I made myself a present ... so that I could stop feeling so sorry for myself!"
Dear God! How does one answer THAT?
We still have not managed to buy those gifts and he nags and nags and nags every day. But to be fair, my children have Carte Blanche permission to nag. If you don’t nag, you won’t get. It’s simply impossible to have your finger on each and every individual pulse. So I tell my kids ... once I have agreed to something, but with a time-lapse ... don’t stop asking. I won’t mind. Keep asking until you have it in your hand. It’s a standing agreement.
AS THE DEER PANTETH FOR THE WATER
AS THE DEER PANTETH FOR THE WATER
Today’s story is going to be a very current story.
As you know, we are in a financial pickle at the moment. So many mouths to feed ... (More than a hundred, actually!) There are 43 babies in the nursery they need nappies, formula, medication and all the other basic things that babies need. Then we have thirty bigger children who have needs too. School items, food, extra murals, birthday gifts. You name it. If you have children or have had children you will know what I am talking about.
Then, we have 24 volunteers. Wonderful young people who come from all four corners of the world to give their energy and love to our babies. But they need to be fed and they also have needs that come at a financial cost.
We have STAFF. There are salaries to pay and salaries are always my greatest priority because people have commitments and they have families to care for, and you cannot just leave them without their wages.
Well now, I believe that I have been squealing loudly enough to make my anxiety known to the world! And I had honestly and truly, (probably very naively) believed that making these blogs will somehow alleviate my problem. At the time, I had received only one donation through Paypal and that was $5 from Taqueesha Lightfoot (used to be Boyd). But I was telling myself, very bravely, that it WAS going to take time and I had to be realistic.
Well, you might have heard all my squeeling across the world, but what you were probably not aware of was that there were a huge amount of questions going up to God at this same time.
Sometimes it seems that when you first start out in a ministry, everything just goes well. You ask God for something, and practically immediately your request is granted. As life goes on, you have to wait somewhat longer at times but you get to know that the answer will eventually come and that is what FAITH is all about. I’ve lived this life for 18 years, and I know the drill. I should have learned by now how God works with people like me.
Now, I sometimes wonder how people look at me when I am in such a tight situation. Maybe they think that I have upset God in some way? Maybe I have become selfish in my walk with God? Maybe arrogant? If I was really pleasing God would I be in such a predicament. Is God punishing me?
You might be very surprised to discover, my dear friend, that I ask those questions myself! But I’m a MATURE Christian, right? I’ve walked a long walk with my Saviour and He has never ever let me down. Why would He start now? Why would he treat his MATURE daughter in this way? Then I find myself saying things like ... If I prayed more ... if I fasted ... if I give more to the poor ... if I put more money into the collection basket on Sunday ... did I have anything to confess that I missed, somehow ... if I put more energy into my children ... but mostly I just ask ... “GOD? What the heck am I doing wrong?” And, you know ... God always has his very special way of answering.
So, I am sitting quietly in front of my computer in the office last week and down come my e-mails and there is one from my good friend, Susan, in Canada. I open it up and this is what I read:
For those who aren't familiar with the view - it's the downstream face of the dam and those dots are bighorns WALKING ACROSS IT. They're licking the surface - salt, maybe?
And immediately when I look at that word SALT I suspect that God is around. Then I study this picture and it is of The Buffalo Bill Dam on the Shoshoni River at Cody, Wyoming....
And suddenly I am in awe as I study these pictures!
If you can believe it? These deer are standing on an upright wall of a bridge!!!
Then, as clear as a bell, God speaks in my heart and He says this:
My child, you might be 60 but you are not ready to come home yet. You still have some growing to do. I am not going to give you the challenges I gave you when you started our work with the babies in Mulbarton, am I? What spiritual challenge would there be in it for you? And back then you would have collapsed under the burden you are carrying now.
But now you CAN face the challenges I set before you and you CAN carry the burden because I am the one who makes it easy and light. If you don’t believe that right now, you only prove that you still have some growing to do.
I know it feels like you are in a drought. And I know how afraid you are. But trust me. There is truly enough spiritual nourishment in those licks of salt, and you will survive on that steep wall. And you know that I will never let you fall. You are mine. I am with you, as I am with those deers on that wall. Trust in me. I am Faithful.
I wrote it down in my little journal and I smiled.
God is Faithful. And sometimes I am a big coward!
THANK YOU SUSAN!
AS THE DEER PANTETH FOR THE WATER
As the deer panteth for the water
so my soul longeth after thee
You alone are my heart's desire
And I long to worship thee
You alone are my strength, my shield
To you alone may my spirit yield
You alone are my real joy-giver
And the apple of my eye!