The Perfect Prompting

My fingers are stiff and cold as I tug at another slimy strand tangled in the net. “A whole night of fishing and all we catch is wretched seaweed,” I groan.

When my brother doesn’t even grunt in reply, I look up. Andrew’s hands have stilled on the net. He is looking down the shoreline, towards Capernaum. There seems to be some commotion there, for I hear distant voices and, shielding my eyes from the glare reflecting from the sea, I can make out a throng of people. Continue reading

Murderer in the Crowd

“Today I was to be crucified.”

I instantly regret the words as the old merchant looks up, his gaze moving uneasily over the long scar slashing my cheek. Yet I couldn’t hold it in any longer. Something about the vast blue sky makes me want to shout ‘freedom!’ and the shrieks of children chasing each other makes me want to laugh out loud. I long to point out to all the unseeing passers-by how the morning light is shimmering on the temple walls above us. After weeks of near darkness, nothing has ever looked lovelier. I’m free! I would shout it across all of Jerusalem if I could. Continue reading

Longing

Today I sat still long enough
to notice a bee steal kisses
from a host of willing petal mouths.
To hear the veld beat
with the rhythm of cicada drums.
To sense the shadows shifting
on a pallet of green and gold.
To listen to my heart pounding weariness
and feel the heavy yearning in my bones.
To touch the flicker of longing
that asks:
What if? Continue reading

Words to Start the Year: The Trite and the True

Yesterday and today I have been bombarded with New Year messages.
There were the sickly sweet…
The inspirational…
The religious…
And the funny.

I passed a couple of them on and added my own cheery New Year’s Eve celebration pictures and wishes onto Instagram , Facebook and Twitter.

But if I’m completely honest, the common words in these messages—prosperous, successful, joyful, bright, healthy, peaceful, blessed—have felt rather trite this year. Sure, they tumble off my own lips with as much ease as everyone else’s but even as I passed them on, a little nay-saying voice in my head whispered, “If 2017 was so tough, why will 2018 be any better?” Continue reading

Ashlyn’s Journey and Victory

Last week was our final school prize giving. I admit it – I might have wiped away a stray tear or two, especially in the first part of the evening which takes place in the classroom. Here, each child receives a ‘character award’. Being a Christian school, this is an area valued as much—if not more than—the academic side. I like that in a school. A lot.

Then it was into the hall, packed with high school students, teachers and parents, to honour the academic and sports achievements of the learners. And there something remarkable happened. Ashlyn was awarded a silver academics badge and then went on to win two subject trophies (Computer Applications Technology and IT).

My youngest daughter, whose schooling—and childhood—has been marked by a struggle with mental health issues including Asperger’s, anxiety and depression marched onto that stage, beaming proudly. This somewhat belied the ‘humility’ part of her earlier character award, but nobody was holding it against her. Most of the teachers there and many of her peers knew the long journey she’s been on.

Reflecting back on that moment, I realise that what I felt was far more than parental pride. That moment on the stage wasn’t just a great academic achievement. It was a victory. Continue reading

Nyla – the Inconvenient Heir

Nyla is not like the other characters I’ve created. That’s because Nyla—Queen of Tirragyl—created herself.
In Chains of Gwyndorr, I introduced you to a cast of characters. There was Shara, yearning to know more about her past, and prepared to go to dangerous lengths to discover it. There was Nicho, the lowborn Parashi, breaking the rules to empower his people. There was unloved Tessor, slinking around behind the stone walls of Lord Lucian’s manor, trying to discover a way to bring down her husband. There were many others and each of them had at least one thing in common: I, the book’s author, had created them.

But that’s not what happened with Nyla. Continue reading

Join my Book Launch Team for 3 Great Opportunities

On the 10th of October my fantasy book, Heirs of Tirragyl is launching into the world. A lot of work goes into a book launch promotion and I can’t do it on my own. That’s why I’m pulling together a LAUNCH TEAM that can help spread the word, and I’d like to invite you to be a part of it.

Each launch team member will be asked to make three commitments … and in return receives three benefits. Continue reading

Journeys – Banished

Based on Genesis 3

I walk in Eden. Dappled light paints shifting patterns on my legs and arms as my feet sink into a lush moss carpet. My steps unleash the scent of green growth; it mingles with the hints of lemon and spice lacing the air in this part of the garden. I stop a moment. Listen. How can I begin to describe Eden’s music? It’s the sigh of the wind, the chorus of birdsong, the buzz and snuffles and purrs of all the creatures in our care. It fills and thrills, inviting every voice, even my own, to join in the chorus. I do not sing today. I only listen. Yearning to hear, just one more time, another voice – His voice. Rumbling with laughter or humming an ancient tune or calling my name. Continue reading

Badgered by an Unwritten Book

My friend Gill (owner of the unreadable Taiwanese book) always claims a word or two for herself at the beginning of each year. Claims is perhaps the wrong term because she doesn’t choose the word per se; it’s more that the word impresses itself into her soul and then becomes a theme that weaves its way through her year.

I had two words that felt significant for me at the beginning of the year. I wrote about one in the Taiwanese book story, but I told almost nobody of the second word. Continue reading