Categories
#blogjune Blogging challenges

Sipping from the saucer #11

I work at a Christian school. The pastor of the church which established our school has a saying: “The LORD has blessed me so much, my cup is overflowing (taken from Psalm 23) and I’m sipping from the saucer.”

I like the visual, so I’m using it here, in this month-long blogging challenge focusing on the blessings God has poured out on me.

Today: blessing #11.

I logged into Facebook on Sunday night , for the first time since early Thursday morning last week. Thursday was my birthday, and it had slipped my mind that I might be getting birthday wishes on social media.

So my surprise was quite great indeed, at seeing so many notifications due to birthday well-wishes from friends and family near and far.

Youz guyz are AWESOME!!!

Which is why you’re my overflowing blessing today. Thanks, my friends, for being you. I love you all to bits!

And here’s praying that you, too, have blessing-filled days today 🙂

-KRidwyn

Categories
Life More about me

It’s a special week, this week…

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-5-19-49-pmDid you know it’s Dyslexia Empowerment Week?

Both my husband and Miss11, our eldest, are dyslexic. So I feel strongly about this one.

Check out their website for information and ideas about how to what you can do to support people like Hubby and Miss11. Even just spread awareness of the week, or (as they suggest): “Rethink Dyslexic Myths” – help debunk the many myths surrounding dyslexia, such as:
1. There is no one in our school (or workplace) with dyslexia
2. Only boys have dyslexia
3. Smart people can’t have dyslexia
4. People with dyslexia read backwards, or swapping b’s and d’s, that’s all
5. People with dyslexia will never improve so there is nothing my school can do to help.

Some famous dyslexics:

Sir Winston Churchill, Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, John F. Kennedy, Richard Branson, Billy Connolly, Whoopi Goldberg, Steven Spielberg, Hans Christian Anderson, F.Scott Fitzgerald – and Catherine Deveny, from whose book USE YOUR WORDS: A MYTH-BUSTING, NO-FEAR APPROACH TO WRITING, I’ve copied this list.

So this week, I’ll be spreading awareness of what dyslexics can achieve, and trying to empower those dyslexics who feel helpless in our schooling system. Will you join me?

Thanks! And have a great week!

— KRidwyn

Categories
Random thoughts Writing

On support groups

I’m not a ‘social’ kind of girl. I used to be, back when I was 19, 20. But I haven’t been for quite some time now. Rather, I’m the stereotypical introvert – happiest in my own company, without the pressures of expectations, protocols, and others’ opinions weighing on me.

So as you can imagine, I’m not big on ‘support groups’. Meeting regularly with people is not something I particularly enjoy dong it. Church on a weekly basis fills my quota more than sufficiently.

And I’m also a member of my local Writer’s Group, and have blogged about them before.

But in the last several months, I’ve also found myself a couple of online places where writers meet over a virtual water-cooler. And I must admit, I’m surprising myself with how much I am enjoying the online support of people I’ve never met in real life but with whom, online, I frequently converse!

One of these places is lovingly referred to as ‘The Reef’. We follow the blog of Literary Guru and Agent Extraordinaire, Janet Reid of Fine Print Literary Management. [Edit: as of August 14, 2016, Her Sharkliness is now Agent-Wrangler Extraordinaire at New Leaf Literary.] We comment on her topics – or also on our own; we enter her Flash Fiction contests, some of us are exiled to Carkoon for misbehaviour: it’s a truly exceptional group of people and I’m incredibly inspired by their talents and honoured to be considered one of them.

A second, slightly more local group, is the friends who I race with every Wednesday evening, Brisbane time. The Writing Races are hosted by Australian Writers Marketplace Online and are run through Facebook. One captain helps racers keep track of time, but we race against ourselves. Whether its word count increases on current works in progress, or decreases through revision, editing or re-writing stages, it’s great fun to have the company for an hour, knowing that people all around the country are doing exactly what you’re doing at that point in time. The sense of camaraderie is palpable. And I love that.

There’s also my wonderful family, colleagues at work, the Celtic group that the three cherubs and I are part of – all in all, I’m glad God designed us to share our lives with each other. Community sure is one magnificent idea. And that from the introvert sitting in front of her computer right now, enjoying the opportunities that present right from this little blog of mine.

Because you, dear blog reader, are the ‘support group’ I get to thank right now. Here, in this space that WordPress kindly allowed me to create, I want to thank you for taking the time to read. To lurk. To comment. To think of me, and honour me with your presence, and your willingness to spend your time reading the externalisation of my thoughts. I appreciate it more than you know.

Thank you, dear reader. And have a marvellous day today!

— KRidwyn

Categories
#AtoZchallenge Blogging challenges my novel-in-progress Random thoughts Reading Review Writing

And now back to our regularly scheduled program…

Wow! What a month it’s been, huh?

FullSizeRenderTwenty-six posts, for the twenty-six letters of the alphabet. Originally, I’d planned a 26-instalment story. But the draft version ended up far too violent to publish here, so at the last minute, I changed to ’26 metaphors for God’, inspired by a cross-stitch Mum made for me. Praise God for Mums, and for friends who make suggestions like “why don’t you use your Mum’s cross-stitch?”

But that being said, it was a huge month. And although I participated, I’m glad it’s over. It took a lot of time away from my ‘normal’ writing, so I’m quite a bit further behind than I wanted to be. And as for my Goodreads challenge, that’s looking like a TKO at this point. Because although I *have* been reading, it’s been on blogs, not books!

My favourite blogs this past month have been:

https://kdjames.com/ (A fascinating story over the month of April)

https://johndavisfrain.com/blog/ (26 stories, each 6 sentences long. Chilling stories.)

http://julieweathers.com/blog/ (American history? READ THIS!)

http://www.colindsmith.com/blog/ (100 word stories inspired by the songs of Paul McCartney. So clever!)

http://denapawling.blogspot.com.au/ (Military definitions from A to Z; enlightening to say the least)

https://alleysiande.com/ (stories, and beer. And dragons…)

https://wordwacker.me/ (clues in haiku for the word of the day)

http://katelarkindale.blogspot.com.au/ (New Zealand movies from A to Z with gorgeously written reviews)

and

http://romancespinners.blogspot.com.au/ (on writing, and writer’s life)

I thoroughly recommend, if you have the time, drop by and have a read.

And for any A to Z challenge participants stopping by, THANK YOU for your encouragement and support, and YAY!!! We did it!!!

(Heading off for a well-earned nap now…)

Categories
#AtoZchallenge Blogging challenges Christianity Writing

26 lessons from God’s metaphors: #4

By day, I teach classroom music in a primary school. By night, I’m a shy, retiring woodland creature who swims on the reef presided over by Her Sharkliness herself, also known as the Queen Of The Known Universe [QOTKU]. And for those of you saying, “Huh? What’s a woodland creature doing on a reef?” I’m referring to the website that WritersDigest listed as ‘Best of the Best’ just last week, the blog run by New York literary guru Janet Reid. (Hi, any visiting Reiders who were also convinced by Colin to do this #AtoZchallenge!)

The Reef is her blog. And the majority of the people who follow are writers. Most of us are shy and retiring. Woodland creatures.

You see, entering the world of writing and publishing is nerve-wracking. I’m the first to admit that I’m a writhing bundle of nerves when I hit ‘send’ on an email query to a prospective agent. Even clicking ‘publish’ on a comment on her blog has my heart racing, for fear I’ll show the world what a complete and utter fraud I am; and how exceptionally laughable it is that I’m aspiring to be a published writer.

But Janet gets that. She understands us. And the Reiders who swim her Reef are honestly the most supportive group of online people you could find anywhere. Bar none.

“So how does that relate to God’s metaphor?” I hear you thinking.

Well, the QOTKU delivers writers from the depths of despair on a daily basis. Needing advice on querying? How about contracts? Pen-name conundrums? Thoughts on self-publishing? We Reiders are treated to fascinating insight into the publishing industry; we absorb the latest in relevant information; AND we get to derive comfort from companionship with other reef dwellers. Because of her, we have a better chance of negotiating the tricky waters of the writing industry.

And that’s what God does. He’s our Deliverer, too.

Psalm 18 verse 2 starts: “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer…”

We don’t need to worry about any fearful situations we get ourselves into; God can deliver us. He already has.

When He died on the cross almost 2,000 years ago, he delivered us from the consequences of our sinful lives. He gave us the opportunity to come back into relationship with God again. He paid the penalty for us, so that we might be delivered. We can stand strong; Jesus has done the work for us.

FullSizeRenderAnd that’s my takeaway lesson for Day 4 of this A to Z blogging challenge. God is our Deliverer. Which – for me – means I can hold my head high; because Jesus Himself paid the price for me! And you know what? He paid the price for you, too! 😀

Have a great day, dear reader!
— KRidwyn

Categories
#blogjune my novel-in-progress Reading

Feedback from beta-readers

So I wrote a book, edited it, and gave it to some people to read. This was both exciting and scary! It was just over 25,000 words; an adventure story aimed at children aged 7 – 10. I’ve since had feedback from some of my beta-readers. One member of my writing group gave the manuscript to her two nieces. The seven-year-old wandered off after a few chapters, but the ten-year-old loved it, took some of it to school and showed her teacher – who also really liked it. I like that sort of feedback! Another member of the group gave me really detailed feedback on multiple aspects. This was more than I had expected, and incredibly helpful. He also made me laugh with this comment: “You write short sentences. My average sentence has 25 words. Yours has eight.” Another group member asked if he’d counted them; apparently he’d run the manuscript through a computer program. I didn’t even know that these existed!

Then again this morning, I spent a few hours with another of my beta-readers. A retired lecturer in Creative Writing, who gave me some intensive feedback. As in, two hours on just a couple of chapters. Which was brilliant! Mentally exhausting, but fantastic nonetheless.  And this afternoon, a lady who I aspire to be just like, is planning to spend the next three hours curled up on her couch with my manuscript. She was looking forward to it, and had set aside the time – this time, this afternoon – weeks ago, because she knew she could have some interrupted time to herself, and that’s what she wanted to spend it doing.

I’m really very blessed to have people in my life who are so supportive! I just hope that my little story is worthy of their time! 🙂

And to you, dear reader, I wish for you a lovely, lovely day.

Thanks for stopping by!

— KRidwyn

Categories
family anecdotes Life More about me

A rainbow *sob*

Yesterday was a memorable day. My pretty much non-verbal, autistic, Mr 3 blew me away.

“Mummy? When [it] raining… when it stop… [we see] rainbow. Okay?”

Precious words from the gorgeous lips of my (no longer non-verbal!) little man!!! It was lunchtime, and he was busy munching on his favourite sandwich – sprinkles – and we were listening to the pelting of the rain on our tin roof. And he just started talking, right out of the blue (well, grey, actually, if that phrase is referring to ‘sky’ LOL). He’d obviously been thinking about when the rain would stop (although for most of the day, it just poured and poured and poured; the type of rain that you think will never ever end) and he verbalised what he’d been thinking about.

What a tear-jerker moment!!!

And what made it more special? Posting about it on Facebook and getting SO many supportive comments and ‘Likes’ from online friends. It was just SO incredible to be able to share it with those who know me, and know Mr 3 & our situation, and to see that they were as touched as I was by it. One comment especially made me think. Katherine Howard, I’m looking at you! She mentioned that it was “a lovely observation to verbalise” – and I couldn’t agree more! The idea of the ‘rainbow’. The beauty, after all the miserable-non-stop-rain; the happiness after the perpetual dreariness; even the promise of hope from the original Noah-and-the-Ark Bible story . It perfectly mirrored what had just happened. My little man, talking, after so many months of not. So unbelievably precious!

Wow. Just wow! It was a special, special day. 😀

Thanks for letting me share that with you, too, dear readers – and have yourselves some incredible days today, too! 😀

Categories
#blogjune Technology

#gratitude

This week has been rather an emotional one. I had a bit of a meltdown on Wednesday (sometimes it doesn’t take much!) but it was the huge numbers of messages of support from friends, both IRL and online, that left be stupefied, overwhelmed, and incredibly, incredibly, grateful.
Thanks do much, guys! You seriously ROCK!!!

Categories
Technology

It’s a fine line between furious and depressed, don’t you think?

And I’m walking that line right now. It’s pretty insane the rollercoaster ride of emotions I’ve been on over the last day.

I am now the proud (I think!) owner of a 13inch Macbook Pro. I am also the owner of a two week old, top of the range, Telstra Ultimate Mobile Broadband USB modem.

And who would have thunk it – the two ain’t compatible. And it’s taken over TWELVE (insert the worst expletive you can think of) HOURS of sitting on the phone to close to ten ‘consultants’ between the two companies. Plus the hour I spent sitting in the Caloundra Telstra shop today, getting their version of Tech Support. BTW there is absolutely no comparison between f2f and phone support. I was my usual polite self, but Nicole from 133933 must obviously have felt that hanging up on me was an appropriate way to treat a customer. I happen to disagree.

So now I’m on the downward slope. Heading towards depression. The best Telstra can do is offer me Tech Support with someone ‘who knows Macs’. Thursday of next week. The best Mac can offer is an appointment at their Chermside Genius Bar; Wednesday of next week.

Yay.

I wonder if I’ll ever actually blog from my own computer ever again?

blah.

Sorry for venting. And thanks for reading. I appreciate thinking that someone out there may actually care about the crappiness that I find myself in.

Categories
momentous events Random thoughts

Here we go again…

It’s been a big day. Woke up to discover my dream job for 2011 had been advertised on Monday, with submissions of applications by close of business YESTERDAY! (That’ll teach me for having a husband and two daughters all having birthdays this past week, and so not turning on my computer as much, won’t it!)

So I applied anyway. And then felt depressed all day. Youngest is teething (and whingy), middle child has a rash over her entire back from the neighbour’s over-chlorinated pool (and MEGA whingy) and eldest is… well… she’s just too like me on every day of the week, so we butt heads anyway. A LOT!

Hubby has been out at a staff retreat for the last few days, so he arrived home tonight. Just as I discovered a colony of ants were playing at falling out of the lovely home they had made in my cathedral ceilings, all over my lounge room. Over chairs, over cushions, over the inevitable collection of toys that accumulates throughout the day. Over literally everything. Yay. But thanks to my lovely twitter support group, a #virtualtweetup, and a pretty massive #sugarhit, I feel as though I can focus enough to blog for the day.

Hmmm… that’s right. My topic: momentous event in my life number four. The first time I felt ‘released’ from the emotional prison that was suffocating me. And again, I should probably fill in some details as to how I arrived in that prison in the first place. So settle in… this may take a moment or two…

Well, as I mentioned in an earlier post, once upon a time, I helped to lead a cult. Really? Yes. Really. In my second year of my B.Ed at Griffith, Mt Gravatt, I was sitting on the grass near the bus stop when a girl several years older than me walked up and, out of the blue, invited me to a Bible study. Shocked? Yes! Because how was she to know that, not 30 seconds earlier, I had just finished praying that I might be more committed to my Saviour, and that I would find the way to do this.

Long story short, I ‘studied the Bible’ with her – and her fellow “church” members – for the next ten days, a couple of hours at a time. (Wow! I must have had SO much free time on my hands back then!) By the middle of the studies, I could see where they were heading. Verses from the Bible had been chosen, and were studied in detail, in such a way that the proof was irrefutable – I was NOT (as I had thought all my life) saved, I was NOT a Christian, and only by joining this “church” would I then become a Christian, and be saved. Tell me tell you – I fought this and fought it! What they were saying was absolute anathema… but in all of it, I had to keep going back to the Bible. Seeing the words. And agreeing with their point of view, even though I didn’t want to, because, really, there was no other explanation. So I joined. And a few months later, moved out of my parents, into a “sisters” house, renting with other girls from the “church”. By Semester One of my third year, I was ‘in deep’. I had virtually lost all contact with my non-“church” friends, and my family. By the end of that semester, I was one of the two Interns. As in, the leader of the “church”, Jordie Barham at that time, and his wife, Paula, had one assistant (Intern) each, and together, the four of us led the whole of the Brisbane “church” – almost 200 members at that point in time. I had decided to postpone Semester Two, in order to devote 22 hours per day to my ‘work’, and I joked how I would tell my parents that it was just for the rest of the year, rather than (as I had planned) for the rest of my life.

But by September, I was completely burnt out. I had not yet succeeded in ‘being fruitful’ (converting someone through to “church” membership) and the Internship was stripped from me and given to another. A month or so later, I feigned illness on Sunday morning, and while everyone else was at church, put through a distress call to my parents. They picked me up, drove me around to the three different “sister’s houses” I had lived in and left possessions at, and then took me back to their house, before the others in the “church” were any the wiser. And then we all ignored the phone, which rang off the hook 24 hours a day for the next 4 days or so.

Still, I had left physically, but not left mentally or emotionally. I knew that when I had left their “church”, that I had walked away from my salvation. That I had turned my back on God. That I was going to hell. And I remained utterly convicted of that fact. Nothing could convince me otherwise. After all – I had seen it for myself, in the black and white words of the Bible.

I finished Uni and got married. I then fought constantly with my husband, as he, a Christian, couldn’t understand how I could be that ‘stubborn’ about my opinion. And then the inevitable happened. After just one and a half years of marriage, we split up.

A week later, he came back. To find me as unrelenting as ever. I KNEW that I was going to hell, and nothing he could say or do would change that. He virtually begged me to go to marriage counselling. I agreed, but with the attitude that ‘nothing will change. They can’t convince me otherwise. I know it. I’ve seen it.’

So anyway, we went to counselling. Another couple, Graham Ballam and his lovely wife, the Baptist pastors at Victoria Point (where we were living) had one session with us. Just one. And then said, “You (two) don’t need marriage counselling. No – marriage counselling won’t work. Instead, you (Ceridwyn) need counselling. To get this wrong way of thinking out of your head. Because you’re wrong. What you believe. It’s wrong.”

My response? Sure. Bring it on. We agreed that I would go through ‘studying the Bible’ with them, each and every session, and I knew, I just KNEW, that by the end of it, I would have convinced them that they too, were not saved, not Christians, etc.

So it started. And it continued. And for every SINGLE verse, I explained the verse how the “church” had explained it to me. And then we would go back to the original meanings of the words themselves, in Hebrew and Greek, to the nuances of the verbs, to see whether the explanations provided by the “church” matched up with the reality of the original Hebrew and Greek words. And while the majority of them DID match up, there were one or two discrepancies. Maybe just in the ‘present continuous’ form of the verb being used, rather than what I had been taught, but it was enough. I saw a chink. A glimmer of light. And that was the beginning.

It took the best part of a fortnight. Hours and hours of debate, intense scrutiny of those same Biblical passages that had so convinced me of my hell-bound future. But it was worth it. By the end, I could smile. I could feel a peace that I hadn’t felt in years. And I felt, again, some hope. Again, just a glimmer… but it was a start. A release. I emerged from that prison a stronger person for being in there – and even more convicted of my God, and my salvation. So although I had endured quite a few years of being ‘bound and gagged’ (to quote the title of one of my brother’s movies), there was an end. A wonderful, wonderful end. Which, as it always does, resulted in a new beginning. Phew.

Well, that’s probably it for today. And I’d say that long enough too wouldn’t you agree?! Thank you for reading, and I’m heading back to say goodnight at that #virtualtweetup now…