Saturday, 28 January 2012

‘Funnily Enough’ on Amazon Kindle

The illustrated e-Book of ‘Funnily Enough’ 
£1.92 from Amazon Kindle worldwide
please click here

Recent readers response ~

“I’ve just finished your book. I do congratulate you on a quite splendid achievement. The whole read is such fun, so joyful, so funny and so touching. I found it very lovable… I was quite enraptured by your lovely piece of work. Well done indeed.” Richard Pilbrow, CEO Theatre Projects, Connecticut USA

"I LOVED it... it's beautifully written." Hermione Spencer, Scotland

“Your writing is so delightfully open and funny and full of fun. It’s a breath of fresh air while also giving courage and perspective to others who struggle with long hard trials.”  Wendy Chandler, South Africa

“Hilarious.” Nick Lombard-Scott, London

“I am completely loving ‘Funnily Enough’ in fact I have nearly finished it and cannot wait for the next book. I will take my copy to the Seychelles. I relate so much to everything you are writing about and it really is amazing – such insights into life. Well done. It is just my kind of book.” Sarah Collins, South Africa

"Hilarious." Sarkis Mahseredjian, London

'It looks amazing! I love the way you incorporate your beautiful artwork into your stories, it makes them so rich!' Skye Wieland, Queensland, Australia

Ten years ago I was given this verse:
“ Write the vision 
 And make it plain on tablets, 
 That he may run who reads it.” 
Habakkuk 2:2
….I thought the word tablet very old fashioned at the time, never guessing that it would be possible to read it on an electronic gadget. Mine is called ‘a tablet’.

Thursday, 19 January 2012 can you say the Lord does not see your troubles?

19th January ~ I’ve learnt that the active bit about trusting God is to seek his will and pray before you start making decisions, rather than afterwards; otherwise you just end up wasting a lot of time. I need to ask that his will should supersede my own right now. And always.

20th January ~
What if you can’t come to any sort of decision?’
When you’re doubtful about your course, submit your judgement absolutely to the Spirit of God and ask him to shut against you every door but the right one.’ Who said that?

21st January ~
And if things don’t work out?’
If life is not going to plan, look to the Lord for a creative alternative, another strategy, something different. Think again ~ achieve your dream.’ Hank Overeem.
It has been snowing again, but deeply and the whole world looks different. It sounds different too. Solomon the cart horse is wearing his smart green rug and, with his shaggy legs, he looks as if he’s wearing flared trousers underneath. A grit lorry with five men dressed in bright orange boiler-suits came down the valley and Mum got a wolf-whistle. She’s frightfully pleased.
I love walking in the snow but I think I should stay inside. Mind you, if I don’t get out of the house now I never will. ‘Lord, who can I go and stay with?’ It’s a funny time of year to go visiting.

22nd January ~
What if I still don’t have a plan?’ I still don’t know what God wants of me, and where he wants me. I could go to South Africa, the option is open, but what would I do there? I need to be certain it’s the right step. I’ve worked out one thing. When you need direction or confirmation to prayer:
A light shines.
A way opens.
A word is given.
A picture emerges.
An assurance comes.
An inner peace settles.
Sometimes we just have to take one step at a time. It can be difficult when the mist comes down and you can only see one step ahead of you.

23rd January ~ Cock-a-doodle-doo! My muddled dreams were split in two. My parents have acquired, not one but two cockerels and they’re living in the parrots’ cage right below my window. (The parrots are back in the dining room.) These roosters cry ~ or whatever you call the noise ~ crow, every thirty-three seconds. Cock-a-do-dol-doo! I’ve timed them. It’s driving me demented.
But darling, it’s a lovely country noise.’
Why’ve you bought them?’
We didn’t buy them. We were given them by a sweet man called Trevor who found them wandering around in a wood. He had them at his house but the neighbours complained.’ Cock-a-doodle-doo! One bird is called Albert, and the other Terry, after the local builder.
Gordon comes from South Africa. I keep thinking of the verse he gave me and looked it up: can you say the Lord does not see your troubles? How can you say God refuses to hear your case? Have you never heard or understood?’ Cock-a-do-dol-doo! ‘Don’t you know that the Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth? He never grows faint or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak. Even youths will become exhausted, and young men will give up. But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.’ Isaiah 40 v 27-31 Yes, please.
I decided to ring him in London. ‘What do you reckon, Gordon? I’d love to go to South Africa.’
What’s that odd noise?’ he asked.
Oh, it’s a rooster.’
I’m sure,’ he said, ‘that God wants you to extend your experience and see the world.’
I do have the option of staying here and illustrating books.’
Yes, but it might be a distraction or an obstacle. If God clearly wants you to go somewhere, attractive propositions that pander to our egos tend to pop up, and later come to nothing.’ Cock-a-do-dol-doo! ‘Have you got a lot of hens?’
No just two; two males.’ I asked him if he ever felt unclear about the future despite asking God what to do. ‘Do you ever feel you’re walking in a fog?’
All the time,’ he laughed. ‘Sometimes it’s a matter of asking for strength as well as direction.’
My problem is I don’t know whether I’ll have the energy to go in any direction at all.’
You will. Don’t do it in your own strength. When I worked in the Cape I went climbing on the coastal cliffs once by myself and fell. There was no one around. As I fell through space I resigned my life into God's hands, knowing it was up to him whether I should live or die. I woke after dark on the rocks below with a sense of peace, like after a deep and comfortable sleep. I realised that God had chosen to give me life ~ and therefore had a purpose for me. To avoid hypothermia, I dragged myself to a cave where I spent the night and then staggered slowly back the next morning and got help. My only wounds were cuts on legs and face and hip, which were stitched up. I lost a bit of blood. My teeth required root treatment but this actually straightened them out. I spent four days in the local hospital and then had a beach holiday. I certainly learnt to draw on the Lord’s strength. It was quite a useful lesson.’

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Using Vitamin D and Magnesium in my recovery from Chronic Fatigue...

12th January ~ Oh dear, where is grace? ‘Grace was a dirty girl, who didn’t wash her face.’ I’m still prone to vengeful thoughts. Quite childish. It’s a good thing I’m not dead yet as my character still needs what amounts to piles of ironing.
The most enormous old wreck of a boat has arrived. Mum doesn’t even want to look. It’s filling the whole yard. My father is so pleased. He keeps stroking it.
The snow fell again last night. I’m not sure how they got the boat down into the valley but it’s standing starkly against the white fields. Solomon and Leonard, the spotty donkey, are both looking on with great attention. Dad learnt an interesting thing: his vessel was originally housed in a boatshed in Scotland that once belonged to Robin’s family. We’ll have to get him to come aboard.

13th January ~ Went to see Dr. Prior for my last magnesium injection. I must have benefited from them. He said that women need about 350mgs of magnesium a day, men 300mgs. I should be able to absorb it naturally from green vegetables, grains, seeds and nuts ~ including chocolate. (I suppose chocolate is derived from a nut.) ‘Otherwise eat ¼ teaspoon of Epsom salts a day.’
Epsom salts?’
Yes, or bathe in it. Fling a handful or two into your bath; you’ll absorb it through the skin.’ I learnt that most of the body’s organs need magnesium, which improves immune function, energy, sleep, blood pressure as well as cardiac function. Apparently you need vitamin D for the body to utilise magnesium. I don’t see how I can sunbathe in January. ‘Take cod liver oil.’ All these old fashioned remedies; but they aren’t a cure are they, just a treatment.
Dr. Prior said that I must still take good care of myself, as I’m likely to contract viruses very easily. He says the key to recovery is in careful pacing.
This is difficult. Daisy is ill. The snow and ice on the roads were so bad that Dad said I shouldn’t drive over. But I did. She’s sick with a bad tummy but we are told it’s not complicated. I just sat with Mary-Dieu. She told me how desperate her depression has been, ‘The darkest, greyest experience of my whole life – you’re constantly wishing you weren’t the way you are but can’t do anything about it. At times it was torture to keep my eyes open; I felt my forehead physically bulging out, like the Elephant Man. There are emotional bits, you get in a state, worried about what people think of your parenting skills and stuff, but it’s a physical thing – very real, very here.’ She looked up. ‘Tell people about it Sophie, so they can understand it’s the most hideous, hideous thing that could happen. You couldn’t be sadder if a mass murderer wiped out your entire family.’

14th January ~ My car is making a very funny noise when it moves; it’s clanking. Dad says the universal joint is worn out. Perhaps I just need new universals too. I’ve gone down with yet another bug and can’t stop coughing. It amazes me how there can be so many variants to influenza. I’m reading a book about colonial India. Despite the risks of horrendous diseases like cholera and dengue fever, most British troops were healthier than they had been in England, as they rarely caught a cold. I should emigrate. At least I could live in the sunlight.
My father now tells me that he puts a cup of Epsom salts in his bathwater whenever he feels tired. He’s been doing it for years.

15th January ~ It seems I’ve caught the bug of the week ~ everybody is down with it. My version also includes the profound exhaustion, which, frankly I’m getting used to. I’m not feeling anxious or confused any more, yet I’m not sure that I can go abroad if I’m forever breaking down like this. ‘But I am trusting you, Oh Lord, saying, “You are my God!” My future is in your hands.’ and little Daisy’s future, and everyone’s.
While it’s our responsibility to do what we can, when things get beyond our control, we have to let God take over; there’s often no choice anyway. Do the possible and let God do the impossible. Jesus says we must just pray that God’s will be done. I suppose this means giving our free will, freely back. Relinquishment. If we ‘surrender unto him’ a thing, like whom we are going to marry, or whether in fact we marry at all, we jolly well surrender it. The thing’s submitted. I’d be so likely to make the wrong decision myself I’ve got to trust God on something like that, and yet I keep thinking, ‘Is it ever going to happen?’
Nothing’s impossible for the Lord.’ It says that somewhere too.

16th January ~ Granny describes being ill as, ‘very tiresome’ or ‘being under attack’. She’s quite right, but I can cope with ‘tiresome’ now and am getting used to fighting when I feel weak.‘ strong and take courage, all you that put your hope in the Lord!’Psalm 31
Yes. I’m going to ‘embrace suffering’; rejoice in the fact I’m ill. Rejoice in the blows and trials, the setbacks that are allowed to rain down on me. I’m going to thank God for his mercy. Mercy for not allowing an idiot like me to suffer one tenth of the natural consequences of my idiocy.

17th January ~ Still ill. I shall overdose on vitamin C and avoid doctors’ waiting rooms. Mum is right. They’re unhealthy places, full of people with viral infections.
I also need anti-freeze for my brain. Am down to my last Dick Francis book. He has a character in it called Erik. Erik’s brother is a policeman called Knut and has a dog; a Great Dane called Odin.

18th January ~ Wobbly... but in a brighter frame of mind. The tide is turning. Apparently there are 57 varieties of herring in Norway and not one of them is red. I must go and see Granny, but she says she would rather not catch my cough.