Grief and loss, love

Book 4 in The Apostle John series is progressing well. I stopped to start a quick ‘how-to’ guide for the computer beginners REAL beginners, in the class I teach two times a month. I think it will have to be a ‘full-blown’ manual, covering all the things they have asked.

It’s like faith. Those of us who know often forget how puzzling it was at the start.

Before I head back to my manuscript, I wanted to share with you something that appeared on my Facebook wall. Any of you who have lost someone precious in your life will recognize what this ‘old man’ has written. Oddly, it came at a time when, triggered by a sermon, I was again aware, and very grateful, to my God, Who is always ‘here’.

Tears·I still feel the pain of the loss

I still remember how many times a day I had to take my tears and my pain to God

I still remember the love, of and for the special man who went before me…


Included in an article/content by Bobby Popovic (Link at the end) was something written by one who described himself as ‘old man’.

What he said seems to encapsulate grief.

I’m old. What that means is that I’ve survived (so far) and a lot of people I’ve known and loved did not.

I’ve lost friends, best friends, acquaintances, co-workers, grandparents, mom, relatives, teachers, mentors, students, neighbors, and a host of other folks. I have no children, and I can’t imagine the pain it must be to lose a child. But here’s my two cents…

I wish I could say you get used to people dying. But I never did. I don’t want to. It tears a hole through me whenever somebody I love dies, no matter the circumstances. But I don’t want it to “not matter”. I don’t want it to be something that just passes. My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that I had for and with that person. And if the scar is deep, so was the love. So be it.

Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and continue to love. And the scar tissue is stronger than the original flesh ever was. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are only ugly to people who can’t see.

As for grief, you’ll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more. And all you can do is float. You find some piece of the wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it’s some physical thing. Maybe it’s a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. Stay alive.

In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don’t even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you’ll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out. But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what’s going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything…and the wave comes crashing. But in between waves, there is life.

Somewhere down the line, and it’s different for everybody, you find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming. An anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas, or landing at O’Hare. You can see it coming, for the most part, and prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you’ll come out.

Take it from an old guy. The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don’t really want them to. But you learn that you’ll survive them. And other waves will come. And you’ll survive them too.

If you’re lucky, you’ll have lots of scars from lots of loves. And lots of shipwrecks.

You will find the full article here…


An encouraging thought…

grief, track recordNo loss is like YOUR loss

No grief is like YOUR  grief

We all heal at our own pace.

I have come to realize the truth of the saying that ‘we only feel great loss where there is great love.’





Children, Sex-slaves

Re-blogged from

This is not a ‘comfortable’ subject. Perhaps you might think it is questionable why it is posted on a ‘faith’’ blog’. But. I think it is something that truly deserves our prayers.

On tonight’s news, in Western Australia, the lead story knocked ‘sport’ off the top spot… no mean feat here.

A 13-year old girl, who had been used as a ‘sex slave’ for 2 years was rescued from the pedophile ring. Her father not only used her as a ‘sex slave’ but had made her available to other men in the pedophile ring.

At first, like many of us would be, I was horrified… then I remembered – when I was a nursing sister in a psychiatric hospital one of the most challenging patients was a young woman who had been similarly used.

(I will not go into more information to protect the identity of the person.)

The reason I share this is because of the psychological difficulties the young woman suffered.

  • Guilt
  • Anger

She had a reputation for terrorizing female student nurses. I remember an incident when she came into the rear section of the nurses’ office where I was briefly, and threatened stabbing me in the eye with a pair of nurses’ stitch scissors. It was not a pleasant experience for me.

(And there were her many episodes of attempted self-harm,.)


Who can really tell why she was angry? Everything you could think of, might be a reason… but the only person (or people) who would understand would be those who have been in the same situation.


I can only tell you what she told me, after I had ‘passed the tests’, and even then it cost her dearly to speak.

As, apparently, is often the case in situations involving incest, which is where it started because the father was the first ‘perpetrator’… her mother blamed her daughter when, eventually, the truth was exposed.. So this young woman, a child when it started, blamed herself.

Another source of on-going guilt in that young woman’s life was that she came to enjoy what her father, and the other men were doing to her.

Why did it happen?

As for why the father did what he did – who knows what was locked in his past?

When the impact of what I heard on the news tonight sank in, I could only pray that the child in tonight’s report, now in ‘care’, has people who will help her recover emotionally, not only physically.

Therefore, I ask you, my readers, please pray for all the children – and that means boys as well as girls, who are sexually abused… and especially by family members.

God will judge the perpetrators. I can have a ‘knee-jerk’ response, but only God knows the full story… and how far back it goes.

(There are no images in this post. I do not want to identify, or trivialize this subject.)



Thank God for Unanswered Prayers

Re-blogged from

Thank God for unanswered prayers

That is what my funeral consultant said to me when she visited to sort out my plans.
No, she wasn’t saying that she had prayed for me to die and I had not. She was sharing an incident in her life. I think it is something many of us could relate to, I know I can.
cartoon elderly couple schoot reunionHer story was of attending a High School reunion and meeting the man who had been the object of her desire, in her youth. I know I could relate to fervent prayers for the ‘love’ of the young man.

(Actually, in Hold the Faith, Benjamin almost loses his faith when his desire for a young woman as his wife is thwarted by her father’s plans.)
Back to my funeral consultant… she laughed to think of how she agonized over this ‘love’… and saw the reality. An old, bald man.
Well, we all grow older, and some do become bald, or fat. Some become bitter, angry with what life has ‘dished’ out to them.
I had a few ‘crushes’ in my younger years. Who knows what would have developed. I have no complaints about my ‘lot’ – I do miss my very special husband, but have a store of good memories.

For I know the thoughts I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29: 11

Perhaps a bit difficult to accept amongst the hormones of adolescence, but God DOES have plans for us. Sometimes they are a long time in arriving. Sometimes that is part of the preparation process.

cartoon, bad-temper
And it is not only being ‘rescued’ from a relationship that would have been disastrous… what about the job that would have been a catastrophe? Maybe the supervisor would have been picky and quarrelsome… or perhaps the company would have gone ‘bust’, leaving you older and with fewer job prospects.
There have been reports of someone missing a plane – or train… and being spared death.
So – thank You, Father for unanswered prayers. And please help me to remember I said that LOL.

To be ready for the future and the hope – we need to be in the ‘space’ where we can appreciate it… recognize it.

Musing again,

why wish on a star, pray to the One who created it.

Sorry – again

My apologies

sad faceBetween finishing The Light of Truth, making a trailer for it, formatting it as an eBook (after the editor had done) AND health issues… I have not been here.

You noticed?

I finished that shawl by the way. Rather quickly.

A text arrived that the expectant mum had ‘started’ 3 or 4 weeks early.

Hand knitted shawl

So, I stopped everything else, sat and knitted the remaining 20 odd peaks, stitched it up, soaked it and pinned it out.


Just as well. I heard later that evening that ‘the princess’ had arrived.

I have been working on my website – well, the updated one. And there is a blog there that I did post some things to.

You will find it here        Author website blog

There was my own health problems – and appointments consuming my time – but, praise God, prayers of the ‘saints’ were heard – and all is okay.

Now I have to finalize matters with the pre-paid funeral. No, not expecting to die – but I made one small change in the plan and was told that my plan went up each year. In this first year the difference was nearly $2,000

I think that is being sorted. I talk to someone tomorrow.

In the meantime… I am of two minds whether to start putting together the notes for book 4 – which excites me, or breathe – and catch up on all I need to do.

Please check out my author website blog for updates. You can even sign up to my readers group. (Another new project.)

Thank you for your support over the years, please follow me to my other site

One last thought…

why wish on a star, pray to the One who created it.Susan


6 Things that have kept me from writing a post

Where have I been you ask?


After my ‘flying fall’, it took me much longer to do everything, including walking, and as for driving to the doctor, mmm that took a while to manage.

Knitting image
Wikimedia commons

My wrists were too sore to knit for a while, and typing ‘jarred’ them.

My doctor organised a cleaner to come in… I couldn’t manage that… or change the bed. That is all in hand now.


What do you call a cleaning lady in the US? When Geoff and I were in Topeka for the church festival, we took a ‘lift’ to the floor our room was on, everyone else took an elevator. Strange how English can be so different between English-speaking nations.

But, let me get back on track.

When I was stuck indoors and had no help, I guess I missed Geoff more – then found some videos of him singing. That was great. A face in the house, looking at me, smiling, and singing.

Eventually some skills returned and I was able to continue with the cobweb 1 ply baby shawl for my soon-coming great-grandchild.

So did my typing ability. Just as well, because one evening when I turned on the TV for the quiz before the news… the picture folded up, the channels all mixed themselves together on the screen, then gave up.


I will not tell you of my frustration between then and the next afternoon, pulling wires and antenna cords out, replacing them (and hoping I was re-connecting them properly). I rang the makers of the TV because it is under warranty still. “Take it back to the shop you bought it from”. Protesting that I could not even lift it never mind fit it into my tiny ‘toy’ car… which is good on the fuel but…

Then the ‘tech support’ man from the TV company suggested I might have a rodent that ate the antenna wire in the wall cavity.

I think that might have been when I decided to leave it be, and check if one of the neighbours had a portable TV I could borrow to check the antenna.

image of tv antennaHa ha ha. Which is when I found out that none of the fifteen units in the complex had TV reception… and it was going to take 28 days to send someone out to fix it.

Happy ending. When the crossword books were making one neighbour cross-eyed, another knew the words to all the DVDs in her collection, she had played them so often and I had found online video lessons on making a website… the repair men came.

Still, now the shawl is almost finished… but I have run out of yarn and 1 ply is not available in Australia. Did a worldwide search… and eventually found some by an exclusive company in the UK and it had a sales outlet in Edinburgh Scotland. Recruited my daughter-in-law to going to the shop, and sending me the ball I need. So grateful 🙂

This is only scratching the surface of the happenings of the last few weeks.  I have had CT scans, an injection into the bursa, two sessions of physiotherapy and acupuncture. I am still limping but in much less pain.

I have almost finished the website I was learning to build. Wow, things have changed since I made my first one… for the better I might add.

Next step will be building myself one! (Just heard that the dormant one has been transferred to this site where I can share the site with the one I have built.  Next week it seems I will be busy too. LOL)

Why don’t you hop on over and have a look at the one I am almost finished with.

See it here.

And please… tell me what you think of it.

You can use the contact form there, or come back and leave a comment here.

Keeping busy



Christians, what are they like?

Conversation, cartoon

I had a very interesting conversation with someone very special to me recently. He was trying to help me see a problem in a different light. At one point it came…

“The trouble with you Christians…”

As I listened I was saddened by the evaluation of Christians. (And probably I fitted many of the categories at various times in the past.)

So, I was thinking about the conversation on my long bus ride back from the hospital where I had gone for my annual scan of the aneurysm and graft.

One of the charges laid was that we ‘Christians’ believe that only we will go to heaven (the saved) and all the rest will go to hell (the dammed).

Harsh list of basic Christian beliefs.

If this is what he thinks I believe then no wonder he was not ‘happy’ with my beliefs.

This is not what the Bible teaches.

I do not believe I will go to heaven when I die. I believe that I will ‘sleep’ awaiting the resurrection. (And that is a line I had put on my husband’s plaque… we both believe/d that.)

(I am satisfied with the many scriptures that back it up – but do not have the space here to list them, and it would take this off-topic anyway.)

Another ‘charge’ was about Christians being judgmental. Some examples were given, and they had merit.

Jesus had something to say on that..

Judge not, that ye be not judged.  Matthew 7:1

And the reason…

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. Matthew 7: 2

And… look to yourself…pot calling kettle black, image

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Matthew 7: 3


I think it is ‘human nature’ to pass judgments, but Christians are supposed to ‘be putting on Christ’ and there are many admonitions in the New Testament about ‘putting off the old man’, (human nature).

In summary, I know my learned friend (and I mean that in a sincere manner) will be able to ‘blow holes’ in what I have quoted.

However, I judge my own behaviour. I am answerable for what I do. I am not called to ‘pick holes’ in what others do.

So, what is a Christian like?

This is not something I can answer, I can only say what/Who they are supposed to be like… the One they name themselves for, Christ.

Christ served.

God first, then His fellow man.

That is what I aim for.

Serve image

And before those of you who know me burst out laughing, or I face a forest of fingers pointing at me… I said it is what I aim for. I have a long way to go.

Tread softly

feet and butterfly image



Jesus’ suffering on Passover


In my opinion this essay is a great starting point for thinking about the sacrifice made for us, and given the time of year, I asked permission to post it.

So… over to Ronny Graham’s well-thought out look at what Christ went through…

The leaders of the Jews—the chief priests, elders, scribes, and Pharisees—had begun early in Jesus’ ministry trying to undermine Him and find a way to get rid of Him. However, under Roman rule and with their jurisdiction limited to Judea, they had been stymied at every turn. When approached by Judas (Luke 22:1-6), they had their chance, and they pounced.

Yet, in all of their plotting and scheming, they never realized they were working by God’s timeline, not their own. The sequence of events that took place on Passover, from Jesus’ arrest through His death on the cross, was orchestrated for our learning so that we could “discern the Lord’s body” and to appreciate deeply what God did for us (I Corinthians 11:27-28).

A close look at the individual events that transpired in His last hours will help us understand what Jesus suffered and even what may have gone through His mind as He endured that day.


One of the first things to occur that evening was Judas’ betrayal. How many of us have been betrayed by a friend with whom we had spent practically every day for three and a half years—and known all the while that he was going to do it? Would we have been able to wash his feet and serve him food? Betrayal by a friend and brother is difficult to endure after the fact, but how Jesus treated him even with His foreknowledge reveals the depth of His character. How many of us would have been emotionally devastated at this point?


After finishing the Passover meal, Jesus and the disciples walked to the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-46). Jesus now had to endure the mental torment of waiting for the events that were just about to begin. After pleading three times with His friends to pray with Him for just one hour, He had to face the dread of what was about to happen alone. Even though He knew that He had to carry out His purpose alone, and that it would be horrifying and painful, He urged His friends to pray so they would not fall into temptation.


When a person is arrested, their liberty is taken away; they essentially become a slave of the state and at the mercy of their captors. But the Jews had no mercy for Jesus. They came for Him with a “great multitude” of soldiers with drawn swords and clubs, ready for a fight (Mark 14:43). Every time they had tried to take Him before, Jesus had slipped away, but this time they came with a mob ready for action.

Isaiah 50:6-7 is a prophecy of what happened to Jesus once He was under the power of His enemies: “I gave My back to those who struck Me, and My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.” With this in mind, we can continue with Jesus being hustled off to be brought before the Jewish leaders.


Wherever Jesus was taken that night, someone was waiting to take a shot at Him. It seems that they lined up to punch and slap Him, and one translation ventures to suggest that He was even beaten with a club! A slap with an open hand was considered a form of humiliation in that it showed disrespect for the victim. It was a sign of His weakness.

Hair Plucked:

Another shaming tactic used at the time was to cut off a man’s beard. Hanun, king of Ammon, did this to David’s servants, shaving off half their beards and cutting their garments up to their buttocks (II Samuel 10:4). With Jesus, they went a step further: They pulled His beard off His face! This is the same as if He were skinned alive. It had to be excruciating.

Spit On:

To spit in another’s face is among the most unambiguous gestures of shame, hatred, and contempt that a person can express. Few things are more disgusting or humiliating, yet Jesus endured it without a word. He “set His face like flint” (Isaiah 50:7)—so that the very people abusing Him would have a chance to be in His Family!


It was customary for a prisoner to be stripped of his clothes. Again, they seemed to be trying to go above and beyond in inflicting pain and humiliation on Jesus. It is quite likely that He remained unclothed throughout this ordeal.


Scourge comes from the Latin word excoriare, meaning “to flay.” A scourge was a three-corded whip tied to the end of a rod. The tips of the cords had knots embedded with pieces of glass or metal, clearly designed to inflict severe punishment. Jewish law limited punishment to forty lashes, but not Roman law. Many prisoners never lived through scourging. Jesus was beaten so badly He no longer looked human. Isaiah writes, “His visage was marred more than any man” (Isaiah 52:14). It is hard to imagine Him still being able to go on.

Scarlet Robe, Reed, and Crown of Thorns:

After Jesus was stripped, His tormentors clothed Him with a scarlet robe and placed a reed in His hand and a crown of thorns on His head. Scarlet is a color of royalty. The reed imitated a scepter, a symbol of authority, but instead, they beat Him with it. A crown symbolizes honor and rank, but He wore a crown, not of gold, but of piercing thorns, symbolizing a curse, vexation, and misfortune.


Not the least trying of His tortures was the mockery. Mockery is ridicule, contempt, derision. It can also be a counterfeit or absurdly inadequate representation. Christ’s accusers took everything He represented and twisted it to inflict pain, suffering, humiliation, and mental anguish.


Perhaps the worst that Jesus had to endure was His Father’s turning from Him when all the sins of mankind fell on Him (Matthew 27:46). Throughout that night and day, Jesus knew that His Father was watching while He suffered and every drop of life was mercilessly drained out of Him. Knowing this gave Him strength to endure, just as it gave Stephen strength and comfort (Acts 7:55). Yet, as Jesus was hanging on the cross, He may have looked up as Stephen had, and He saw His Father turn away. He cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

The Father had to turn away. Sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2), and all of our sins separated Jesus from His Father in the same way. To be our High Priest, to be able to relate to us, Jesus had to know what it was like to be separated from God by sin—and maybe even to taste the terror of those who will be separated from Him forever.

The Father was also suffering. Despite it being part of His plan, He was sacrificing the only Being that He could have a godly relationship with. God has deep feeling and emotion, and as His Son bled out, the Father was hurting! Few human fathers can watch their children going through difficult situations without feeling their pain. How much more our heavenly Father?

Yet, God endured this for us. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). The Father and the Son gave everything so that we can live eternally with them! What are we willing to endure to spend it with them?

Thank you Ronny



giving up, had enough quote

Sitting on a Cactus


I recently posted a picture on my Facebook author page

cactus picture


Since my page is not ‘advertised’, the number of people that picture ‘reached’ amazed me. It seems I am not the only one who has had to sit on a cactus.


Sometimes there is little, or perhaps no, alternative. But there comes a time when a decision must be made. Is whatever the cactus represents worth the discomfort of sitting on it?

Sometimes this requires an incredible leap of faith. faith, leaping

Sometimes it requires risking something we might be afraid we will lose. (But if the cactus is so uncomfortable, then do we really have it?)

giving up, had enough quote

As another ‘picture quote’ I have says – ‘There is a difference between giving up and knowing when you’ve had enough’


As we walk our way through this life there are many difficult times. Sometimes it might be difficult to believe that God is with us, or knows what is happening, or cares.

yesTo all three.


I will never leave you nor forsake you…
Hebrews 13:5 and variations of this promise in ten other scriptures.

That being the case, what about ‘knows what is happening’ or ‘cares’

Well, I have several translations of the Bible. In none of them did the people written of, sail through their lives without problems.

Starting at the beginning Eve made a wrong choice, to believe a serpent. Adam made a wrong choice too. (Many a ‘cactus’ in my life has been the result of a wrong choice… not always immediate either. Sometimes, like fruit on a tree, it takes time to grow.)

God knows…

How else would He have known that Job would have withstood the tests that He allowed Satan to put on him?

What about the Apostle Paul? After he was blinded on the way to Damascus, God told Ananias to go to him. Ananias protested…

And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
Acts 9: 14 – 16

So, my thinking is… Some of the cacti in my life, are things I have sown. Others might have been sown by an ‘enemy’, or even a loving Father.

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12: 7 – 11

Yes, God knows. Yes, God cares. Yes, He is with us.

So if a cactus is in your life – Pray. That is my first aid.

prickles on cactus

Taking the prickles out, well, that might take time, and more prayer. Ultimately there will be a good result, and it is not always what we think it will be.

But it is our choice to get off the cactus and walk.

Just thinking,


Feet walking


Commandments, suggestions, approximations

I have just witnessed what is rapidly becoming a ‘pet hate’.


On one TV channel’s weather forecast the weather person said today’s temperature had been 24 C whilst written on the screen was 24.9 C

Now, if we are going with approximations, why not round up 0.1 of a degree instead of down 0.9?

I would change the TV news channel, and do sometimes, but this is not an issue confined to the weather on TV.


Spped limit 73 Km

Like many others, I see that the speed limit is viewed as a suggestion. I am not the only one who complains of being tail-gated, blasted with someone’s car horn, or worse because I am keeping the speed limit. (And by the way, there is usually at least one other lane available… and sometimes I am in the ‘slow’ lane when this happens.)


Then what about traffic lights? By the time the traffic signals are red, vehicles should be stationary.

There is a disabled access crossing to the bus/train station my husband and I used to green light crossing signuse regularly… it crosses two dual carriageway ‘on-ramps’ to the freeway. Between the ‘green man’ (to walk) and the loud alert noise, for vision impaired pedestrians, it would be fair to assume that it was safe to cross. Not so! Until I learnt to look at the traffic instead of the ‘walk’ sign, there were a number of times my late husband had to grab me and tug me back, rescuing me from being run over. Well that was a while ago now, and I don’t often use that bus/train Interchange anymore – until this morning. A cousin of my husband was visiting from Tasmania and I arranged to collect him from that station. I remembered to watch the traffic as I waited to cross. But the man beside me saw the ‘Walk’ sign, heard the sound to indicate it was safe to go, and stepped off the kerb. I saw the car hurtle toward him and called out. He jumped back in time.

Is saving a few minutes time worth a person’s life?

Obviously not to some people.

Let’s not talk about the Ten Commandments…

 Ten commandments

 Or even the Two Great Commandments which Jesus used to summarise them.

They would have to be the classic example of approximations or suggestions which can be ignored or picked and chosen according to the mood of the person.

But looking around this world, where down seems to be up – and vice versa… it seems there is only one commandment for many individuals. “You shall have no other God before me.” Individuals… some it seems, have made themselves the God of their own lives.

Sharing some dislikes



While you are here, I am looking for votes on the cover of the 3rd book in the Apostle John series of books.
The images are all taken by the awesomely talented/gifted lady who provided the covers for the first two.
The ones for the new book are all pictures of the Aurora Australis (The Southern Lights) and were photographed by Lena, in Tasmania.
We all have favourites, but I would so much appreciate help in decided which to use for this, as yet, unfinished book.

All it will take is a click of the link here,

then a click in a round radio button.

Tread softly image, feet and butterfliesThank you