Friday, 27 October 2017

Crying Ground

Yey! I havent been able to participate in FMF for some time, but glad to be back this week! Five Minutes of heartfelt writing, here goes!


Social media in South Africa is a buzz, I'm not on it much, I prefer to live a life where social media does not take a big chunk of my life. However, with the recent tragic farm killings that continue to take place here, and the public call to wear black on Monday as a sign of unity in our mourning, well it's not fair to hide away from this. Even though I haven't been watching the videos many are posting or getting caught up in the debates and dialogues, I cannot help but feel the sadness. Last night I actually crawled in to bed fearful. Today I woke up thinking how happy I am to be leaving South Africa for a few weeks on a ministry trip. I've never felt this way before. This place has always been home, but suddenly I'm aware that I'm overcome with tiredness.

I believe in the truthful reality of being the change you want to see. Of doing good whenever you can, wherever you can, especially in your community. But what happens when you suddenly have no hope that things can change? Farm murders have been happening for years in South Africa, it's our current genocide and it is tragic, disgusting and wrong. But can we change it? 

While lying in bed feeling suddenly fearful, I started praying asking Abba for understanding and light. My fear dissipated, even though my soul was still in turmoil. It's the desire of the righteous to see justice and to pursue it, that's what the Bible teaches us, and so if we are overcome by the desire to change injustice, it stems from a place of goodness. I'm wondering about the future here, but I know the safets place to be is in God's Will, wherever that may be. Hope overcomes despair, faith overcomes the challenges of daily living and I pray His protection and Justice will ultimately overcome what's happening here, as the blood of the innocent cries out from the chaotic, broken ground of South Africa.

STOP! Linking with Five Minute Friday
and Velvet Ashes

Monday, 2 October 2017

And then a Promise



I’ve window shopped online, being staring at the screen uninterested. To be honest, I’d love to be doing something else right now but between my headache and the nervousness that’s giving me a goldfish brain, I’m pretty much stuck with this. I’m stuck with the nervous subconscious stuff, and I guess it’s relevant.


We leading a week-long retreat camp in two days’ time, travelling and not knowing what to expect. Excited about it, but nervous. I don’t think I would feel this nervous if I was not also nurturing the reality of being away when my dad goes in for his heart operation this week. I remember the first time he went in for a heart op, I wrote English 206, Jane Austen essays, second year university. I did pretty well in that exam, but I remember looking up at the clock every half an hour thinking, he’s in now, I wonder how it’s going. The older I get the more these moments have held indescribable meaning, the value I attach to my family has become deeper, more settled. I’m led to believe that is the case from my friends who are much older than me. I guess that is why the older you get the harder it is to let go of things, physical things, so you end up hording. Most of the time, when you unpack one of my grandparents houses you will end up finding loads of old things and there’s a story for every single thing they own. Those stories were boring when you a teenager, but as you grow you realise your grandparents tell you those stories because through them retelling it, it holds profound and lasting meaning to them. Stories are a beautiful way of making things live, through our oral memories, we put flesh and bone on something that is merely a misty photo in our memory. Speaking of photographs, I’ve heard my mom and my aunts arguing about who gets the photos when my gran isn’t around anymore. She has a box of old photos, she lets us look at them every now and then, but no one gets to touch them. Those are sacred memories on paper.


Every day is a memory, perhaps I’ll look back on this one day in the same way as I do on my Jane Austen exam paper and remember this very moment. In fact, of all the exams I wrote, that is the one I remember the most, because it was coupled with a bigger story. God has given us as a family, profound peace about my father’s operation and I’m reminded of the promise God gave me when I was newly saved, that one day He would save my family. That promise still hasn’t happened yet and as I sat on the couch this evening, I heard Him tell me to read Joshua chapter 23. I was like – I don’t think there is a Joshua chapter 23 and maybe this isn’t God, but there is a twenty third chapter and it was God. My thoughts were empty save for one cry from my heart, what are you saying to me through this?


As I clung to the promise of salvation for my family and the promise of peace in the midst of this storm, Yeshua pulled me to verse 14 and whispered; “You know with all your heart and being that not even one of all the faithful promises the LORD your God made to you is left unfulfilled; everyone was realized--not one promise is unfulfilled!” Yahweh promised Israel so many things, so many beautiful things and every one was fulfilled in its time, not one remained unfulfilled, even the small ones. I am comforted by His unfailing Love and promise, my family will make it in the right time, in His perfect way. What amazing hope and comfort to know the King of Kings and to hear His voice. He is the One who knows the future and this year through some very hard, internal stuff I’ve really learned just how Sufficient my Messiah is, in absolutely everything. So here I am, more comforted than before, tucking this promise in to the folds of my spirit and praying for a good nights rest. Abba You have this, and I trust you, I trust You….

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

"Father"


This Poem first appeared on Altarwork 
The picture of Father dropping seeds, feeding things, the sound of the creaking, unoiled gate at the bottom of the garden. The sinking feeling of not knowing how to come home, but the shining light that illuminates His face. These images are a part of me. I see this poem so clearly, having entered that gate 15 years ago, I'm just caught up by His face. And the Love that's never changing from His Heart, I needed to share this poem right here... 

 Father. Framed in black and white, ​
your smile captures the light on a broken window pane.​
Framed.​
Father. Bag in hand, other hand open. Lifted high.​
Seeds for others to eat, light – laced seed, ​
feeding the world’s forgotten things.​
Feed. ​
Father. There is a gate at the opposite end of the yard, it is open.​
Is there space for me to slip in?​
Father.​
Let’s talk over by the body of water that resembles a pool.​
Draw near. Our faces wrinkled in the water’s gaze.​
We look the same.​
Our reflection in water’s grace, smile at the sameness of our eyes.​
Face.​
Father. Framed by light. Squint my eyes and you fade into the dark shadows.​
Correct my sight and you fill the scene.​
Bathed in the fires flame. ​
You.​
Hands open Wide.​
I enter the gate at the bottom of the yard. Tired.​
You hear the steel, it’s different from most who enter.​
Smile. You turn, it’s me. I’m home.​
Here, embraced.​
Forget all else, you turn because it’s me. ​
Your eyes filled with my broken need.​
Father.​
I’m coming home to you.​

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

The Girl in the Pink Dress


“Both my parents are dead,” she said with her smiling voice, “they died from AIDS.”
“Oh,” the man replied. “That must have been hard for you.”
“It’s okay. I don’t have AIDS.”

The man paused and I listened more intently, wondering where this conversation would go, wondering how the man, an older, experienced psychologist, would respond.

Her hair was shaved, her faded pink dress snug for her adolescent body. Her smile was big and her face held light but she was one of the numerous others just like her, an orphan because of AIDS....

These are the hard stories, the stories we have to tell because they are the truth, orphans, child-headed families and how to bring hope, I'm writing about it over at Off the Page. Join me!

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Surviving Childhood Sexual Abuse - Podcast


My podcast series is on going over on my authors website, but I had to share this recent one, a conversation with Crystal Sutherland. Crystal has such a gentleness about her and so much of our conversation has stayed with me. She is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and she has shared her story in her book, Journey to Heal. This book outlines seven steps for hope and healing for anyone who has been a victim of sexual trauma. She has an online bible study and leads retreats and conferences for women. In this podcast we discuss her journey, her book, what the church can do to help survivors and a lot more. I am grateful to Crystal for sharing her story, and for sharing it so that the body can receive truth about sexual abuse. You can listen to this podcast over here:

 

Friday, 25 August 2017

FMF - Girl Guided

Five Minute Friday, I'm writing on the word "Guide," so let's see what comes up! GO!


When the word guide comes up, I'm suddenly sitting with a picture in my mind of girls in pink, ribbons in their hair, sticks in hand. Call them the girl guides, it was a huge trend to join the guides when I was little. I never did though. But I'm super sure guides was useful, teaching you how to trek, build fires and tie knots. When you grow up though, you soon realise there is no ultimate guide for life, no manual, no how to, and you are left feeling a little bit scared some times. Overwhelmed with the questions or experiences life gives to you. The passed few weeks I've allowed myself the needed step back, to step in to Gods presence, not only for guidance, but for togetherness. I've felt confused about a number of things, and it has been good to be there, to be present with God. I think the discipline of presence, is a worthy pursuit. So is the reality that prayer is an experience of pondering, reflecting, and often just stillness with the Almighty. While life deosn't offer open handed answers, I know Yeshua does, and when He doesn't answer, He leads, He guides. It's a journey, an adventure, a place of travelling, life is often uncharted but I think we are all girl guides, learning truths that can guide us further. If we learn from todays lesson, tomorrow may be a little easier, and eventually we  will become an instructor helping others through the swamps we once fell in to....
STOP!
Linking with Five Minute Friday

Friday, 28 July 2017

FMF - He Stops Here

Five Minute Friday! A time to write from the heart for 5 whole minutes, here goes! 
 


Wednesday was going to be a busy day, time spent driving from location to location, place to place, to my hairdresser, to my moms work, to the beautitian, to the doctor, to the mall, to hubby's hairdresser and then home in the traffic and to sneak in some food somewhere. As hubby and I got in to the car, I prayed and asked Father to bless our day, to not let it be stressful or crazy but for us to enjoy the day and its busyness. As we drove through the thick traffic we barely made the first appointment in time, poor start I thought. But as I sat in the hairdressers chair, the same one I've had for ten years, she asked me some questions and our conversation turned towards an area of life I had not spoken much about. A new something brewing in my heart. She listened and then poured honest, sincere encouragement all over me. We have totally different spiritual beliefs and lifestyles but her words were refreshing and God was shining His love through her to me. I felt inspired, and peaceful. When I finally got to the doctors room, the doctor I was going to see had left so I saw the other doctor, I had seen once before. She was kind and we spoke for such a long time and something drew me to share with her, some private thoughts. She empathised in sincerity and we spoke about our common faith, she knew what I was facing internally and I felt safe, at peace, inspired, refreshed and so so grateful. I smiled the whole way home. God had really travelled with me from my morning prayer and through the flesh and blood people I had seen. Such love and encouragement, I barely expected it because to be honest, it doesnt happen often with me. God knew and He still does, He knows what we need, what you need and He shows up in greater ways then we imagined, to encourage, refresh and to inspire and through that I am truly truly grateful!

Stop!
Linking with Kate M 
 

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Stepping back in to the World


Gates slam, voices scream, and somewhere someone bangs on a metal bar. She lies on the bed staring up at the ceiling, her fingers opening and closing. Her lips press in a heart-shaped pout, and she jerks at times. It could be shock at the deafening screams that make my ears ring, or part of her reaction to the drugs still in her system. Whatever the case, I want her to look up, because I have brought her new clothes. I wonder if she’ll notice or if she’s unmoved because of her innocence. Does despair hold her soul because she’s doing time for someone else’s drug crime? I touch her abdomen gently, and she responds with movement. She shows no hint of despair; that’s the emotion I project in picking her up. This innocent prisoner of nine months, a baby behind metal bars....

There are prisoners we never think of, babies, orphans, broken women serving a prison sentence for defending themselves, and as I began to think about this, I knew I had to find out the truth about their lives. So I vitied a home for female ex-offenders and it was such a blessing, come read about this over at 
 

Friday, 14 July 2017

FMF - When you Decide

Five Minute Friday, writing for 5 minutes, Here Goes!




Comfort. I'm left thinking about the Tour De France stage today, of course I'm watching so much of it everyday that I even dream about bike racing. But comfort looks this way to me.....the leader of the race suddenly looses his lead and the yellow jersey goes on to the shoulders of someone else. The following day your team performance is the best and while you are sprinting through the mountain descents, you are also pushng hard up the steep climbs. All the while you are staring straight ahead at the yellow jersey, something you once had on your shoulders now rests on someone elses, discomfort. There's nothing comfortable in finding a way to undo that reality, sweat dripping like water, every inch of you aches and you pain, that's what I came here for, that's what I've trained for, what I've waited for, what I've given everything for. And what if it doesn't work out, what if there's a sudden plot twist, a change of pace, your legs won't go, there's nothing comfortable about this, uncomfortable. Close your eyes, you ignore the flash of yellow you suddenly decide to pass and you turn your face left. Right next to you is a team mate shouting across race radio into your ears; "you've got this, take the gap, believe in yourself, I'm right along side you." You look around and notice no one else has a team mate with them but you do. He wears the same jersey, the same yellow helmet, he rides the same bike and you know him. His voice crackles in to your ears and you go, attacking that yellow jersey, suddenly you believe in yourself. And your ability to tackle this plot twist. You don't need a yellow jersey to believe, you only need your Team Mates voice and your own belief. Comfort. This is what you came here for, what you've trained for, it looks different but you're a racer after all, so you decide to race, with your Team Mate alongside you, so keep on racing....
Stop!
Linkng with Kate M

I've written alot about the lessons I've learned through watching cycling, you can see them here:
 
Cycling Life Lessons // Cycling Songs:
When you've Only Got One Gear 
Crashed Out 
The Penultimate Climb 
Cobblestones of Hope 
Walk the Plank 
A Legacy on Tour

Monday, 10 July 2017

When you've only got one Gear


July equals Tour De France and that means cosying up in front of the telly with sweets, blankets and watching cycling. It's a fun reality I've learned to embrace because of my hubby's love of cycling. I'm okay with the fact that I first started watching cycling because of him, I used to think girls were strange when they did that, not any more! To be honest I learn a lot about life from cycling, it's the one sport that has opened my eyes to a lot of different truths about life. I've blogged about them one year (I'll put the links below!) and this year it's the same. 

Yesterday's stage was gruesome, ugly and crazy, and I lost my favourite cyclist to a bad crash. But the main story that touched my heart was the stage winners story. Rigoberto Uran is a cyclist from Colombia, at the age of 14 his father deserted his mother, so Rigoberto had to take to the streets selling lottery tickets to help his mom. A local cycling team took him in and helped him, he started riding and he went up the ranks, today he's an amazing cyclist.

Yesterday however, there were a number of bad crashes on stage 9, during one crash a knocked down cyclist hit Rigo's bicycle and the gears on his bike got stuck. Stuck bike gears means no gearing whatsoever, and Rigo's bike got stuck in the highest gear possible, which meant he was riding at his maximum output all the time for 20 kilometres against the toughest and strongest men in the race. And guess what, Rigo won! He came across the line and he humbly accepted the win. Minutes later I watched an interview with the sport director of his team. In the interview the director said how intelligent of a rider Rigo is, how he calculates things, works it all out and often that means he gives up at certain times because he feels he cannot win based on calculation. That morning his director told him, "Rigo today is your day, don't think about it, forget and do it." Because Rigo had only one gear, the hardest one, there was no space for over-thinking, over analysing or calculations. He had nothing to lose and so he just did it and he won. 

I was left thinking how that speaks to life. We doubt ourselves, left with the calculations on who deserves the honour, who deserves grace from God, or for their God - dreams to become a reality. Left calculating our options, instead of risking it all and sowing our talents wholeheartedly. We all do that and it's nothing to be guilty for, it's just who we are sometimes, the calculators. Until God decides to stick us in one gear and we have to climb, we are forced to face ourselves and what we see is not a loser, but a winner. We see our worth and our strength, our abilities, we see that we are worthy and chosen and loved. We see that we have more then enough for the road of life. Sometimes that stuck gear looks like a job loss, that takes you in a different direction. Or a closed door that leads you to write that book, the one you've been dreaming about for years. Or it looks like growth and self-belief, stronger faith, better relationships or the wished for things suddenly becoming reality. It's not just self - doubt that can cause our delay in believing in who we are, humility also does that. That may sound strange but I have recognised how humility is a character trait some people carry from their childhood. Humility is a great trait, it's present in the best of people and often the greatest individuals in the Bible were the most humble. It's just a lesson to learn how humility can co-exist with greatness, as Holly Gerth once wrote, "discovering who we are should lead to praise, not pride." Humble people are often afraid of great triumphs because they fear pride, so to learn how triumph leads to praise not pride is a sigh of relief. Whatever holds you back from believing today dear friend, kick it, give it all you got, today is your day, it's time for the win. Believe! Because you really can!

Cycling Life Lessons // Cycling Songs:
Crashed Out 
The Penultimate Climb 
Cobblestones of Hope 
Walk the Plank 
A Legacy on Tour 

 
I'm sharing with Holley Gerth
And Susan Mead

Friday, 30 June 2017

I will Double It - FMF

Five Minute Friday Writing, on the prompt "bless," Go!


I had this memory pop up today while I was brushing my teeth, while pondering on the very real questions and fears about some new nudges I feel towards the unknown things. I remembered how when I still lived at home, I travelled a lot. And as I saved towards my trips, my father would say to me, "child whatever you save up as spending money towards your trip, I will double it." And he kept his promise everytime. I knew it wasn't about the money, but it was about working hard at something, he wanted to teach me what it felt like to give of myself towards something. My father could have given me the money I needed, but he didn't. Instead we worked together towards a common goal, in this we had a sense of oneness and co - working, unity and a goal in sight. I would work hard to save every penny and when I would bring my savings to him just before a trip, he would smile, pleased. And then he'd give me not double, butwhatever I needed in total for the trip. I never took this for granted, because he could have changed his mind, but he didn't. In some invisible way, we were working together. And my dad is no saint, in fact we had a lot of hard times, and we did not get along that well, but he still gave me many good things, blessings. I guess I am reminded of that scripture which says; "So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him" (Matthew 7:11). With all the uncertainty within me towards the new unknown, perhaps this was not a random memory but a reminder. A promise, a nudge.....

STOP!
LInking with Kate 
 

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Maternal Comes Straight From The Greatest Depths Of The Heart


I have learned that God’s heart may be fatherly, but it is also a heart of nurture, passion and compassion. He birthed the world from His mouth and we became His redeemed seed at our birth on the cross. He carries us on His chest and makes us to drink of His life. He always is and always will be hiding us in the shadow of His wings, just like mother birds do. He speaks to us about this brooding that He does, over our lives and He sacrificed so much so that we could be born from His blood.

Though I may not bear a birth of blood and see a new born life emerge, I have come to face the image in the mirror of myself, the one that is maternal. To be restored to Christ, means that I have had a heart transplant, resulting in the desire to nurture and nourish those I am called to serve. I am called to spiritually mother and when I first heard that call, it was unexpected. Yet, as spiritual mothers, we dry the tears of the very men and women looking to us to help them face a fatherless home or absent mom. We help those yearning to overcome abandonment and neglect, drug addiction, abuse and just plain weariness or the pain of a purposeless life. My spiritual mom, for example, was a woman who was penniless, but she shared her home with me when I was coming out of an abusive relationship and she helped me believe in God’s love again. She gave the speech at my wedding and she only added to my life in ways I am eternally grateful for, even though I still have my earthly parents...

This week I am blessed to be sharing my story about being a spiritual mom, over at Imperishable Beauty. I wrote this story 6 months ago, but perhaps someone out there needs to hear it today.... Come and Join me!
 

Monday, 26 June 2017

Returning to what was Left Behind


I held the gold key with its thick maroon tassel between my hands. It was my twenty-first birthday and the key was a gift my parents purchased in Spain. A memento from the old city of Grenada, once home to hundreds of Jews until an edict was signed into law by the Catholic kings. The edict demanded that all practicing Jews leave the Spanish territories within four months. Along with the key was a tiny piece of paper retelling the history of a fateful night, March 31, 1492. Mourning Jews left Spain with the keys from their homes in Grenada in their pockets and passed them down from generation to generation in hopes their descendants would one day return to what had been left behind.

The key I held in my hand was a replica, but it was a thoughtful gift. As a child, I longed to visit the Middle East. I had an atlas I read over and over again. It was just a collection of maps, but it represented passage to a land I knew nothing about, a Jewish land of silent deserts and walls that saw generations come and ago. My parents knew this and my pull toward everything Jewish, including the Jewish rabbi named Jesus, whom I already followed like a disciple and had since the age of seventeen. That was how I understood him, as a Jewish rabbi with copper skin, dark hair, a thick beard, and dark eyes.

My heritage was not an interest of mine until I held that key in my hands. A week after my twenty-first birthday, I questioned my paternal grandfather on our heritage. White South Africans typically carry the ancestral blood of Germans, Dutch, French, Portuguese, Italians, and British people, to name but a few. Because our lineages are intricate and hard to trace, I assumed my grandparents did not know our family lineage. But my grandfather emerged with a Hebrew book and a secret his family had kept hidden not only from his grandchildren but also from his children. “We are Jewish..........

I'm sharing my Story over at Off the Page, Join me!
 

Friday, 16 June 2017

FMF - You're an Investment

Five Minute Friday, writing on "Worth," GO!


 This parable of the Master, this giving master, this loving master. Giving talents to his workers, freely and without them even asking. To one is given 5 because it was so decided, but to another 2 and yet another, 1. Talents not meaning our gifts are skills, is money, a lot of money. A measurement of currency that equals 10 000 times a simple denarii. So if my daily wage of what I earn today is a simple $100 a day, times that by my lifes work of 30 years, this would mean God has invested in to my life, a muilt million dollar investment. Superabundance, grace upon grace, blessing upon blessing, He has invested in me. This investment is not a simple money treasure, but lately it means I am seeing the work of my hands for the Kingdom, in a different way. I am an investment, my Father has spent exclusive time on my design, each skill, each gift, each personality quirk, love and like, passion and joy is the unique expression of His deep love and investment. I'm not just given gifts, I am invested in and that's because Abba finds us worth it. I once read an interview with Donald Trump, where he said his father didn't give him a big start up, his dad only gave him $1 000 000 to begin a business. I rolled my eyes, a million bucks sure whose dad can afford to give them that! And yet, our lives as humans created by a Loving Master, means freely He has given, freely He has blessed and freely we have received because He thought we were worth it. Shame on us for burying it in the ground or thinking we don't have worth, His investment alone tells us we have worth. And perhaps we should go all Donald Trump like with our investment, and produce a billion fold exclusively for God's Kingdom! 

Stop! Linking with Kate M 

Saturday, 3 June 2017

The Door of Return - Writing Elsewhere


The humid air licked at my fringe as I waited beneath the bell tower on the grass of a wine farm in Cape Town, my beloved home town. The air played with the rope that hung from the brass bell and as I looked up, I noticed a plaque to the left of where I stood. It was just a normal day out for me, acting like a tourist in my own city. Yet this bell unnerved me, as I stood waiting for my husband on the lawn. Curiosity gripped me and I walked over to the plaque. It held the words slavery on it and bled with the slave stories of the Cape. Small drawings were etched in to the brass depicting what life had been like for the slaves who lived on this farm. 

 That night I prayed in tears for the broken lives left behind in slavery and for those that still live as modern day slaves through human trafficking and abuse. I heard His words fill the air, I am the Door, I am the Return. These words were truth and though they referred to the beauty of Grace’s redemption I knew they meant something more. A week later someone we knew via social media, invited my husband and I to preach the word of God with her on a mission trip to Ghana.......

The rest of my story evokes deep emotion in me, come and join me over at the 
 

Friday, 2 June 2017

One I can't see - FMF

Joining my crew at the new FMF crib and Kate hit the nail this week on the word "future," for me this is a hot topic right now.... No editing, unplanned writing here goes.... 5 minutes!


I've struggled to find my feet since we came back from our U.S.A. trip. We've done ministry trips before and sometimes re-entry is a challenge, but this time it was different. Something shifted within us and within God's plan for us. I recognise though that we could have that shift and receive an unknown new, because both my husband and I, have grown so much spiritually over the past year or so. Our spirits were bigger and more able to carry a greater load then before. That was something I did not recognise after we arrived home. During this time of struggling to find our hope and place, I have come to learn and see a lot. Yahweh doesn't show it to me all at once, but little by little He is pulling the curtain back on the things that have happened. On the things He has done, like this truth about our growth and maturing. Little by little I can see clearer, truths about myself and how He has prepared me for different things, along with these truths, He is calming my heart with the gentle comfort that the future looks good. Don't settle, He keeps on telling me, don't settle for lesser dreams or goals. Even when I slowly slip in to doubt about a life that does not quite make sense most days, He just keeps reminding me of His constant nearness and big plan. One I can't see just yet....

Stop!
Linking with Five Minute Friday 
 

Thursday, 1 June 2017

My Classics!


 I'm not sure how many people read Classic books these days, but when I started university back in 2004, it was thing! I'm a classic lover and my small collection of classics exploded as an undergrad English literature student. We were handed a folio paper with 20 books on, every year. I remember spending holidays reading, weekends away with friends reading, braaing (that's cooking meat on on an open fire) and reading. It was a bizarre world that somehow left me changed. Those days and hours of reading became formational, I learnt a language of poetry that stirred my passion to find my own truths. Those stories of hope and hopelessless, of love and second chances, of death and life, pain, sorrow and characters resembling people I knew, well they all mattered. I remember the first time I met Mr Darcy, the first time Anne Elliott started blooming again, the dislike of Causabon and the haunting image of Dover Beach, (a place I've actually visited in real life!). Well, this week I am taking part in the love of classic fiction and going against the grain of modern reading and diving in to the classics, as part of the #ReadUpStream challenge. Here's my five favourite classic memories:

1 - Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence. Depicting the inner conflict of the Old pre - war New York society versus upper class New York after the war. 
2 - My favourite Persuasion by Jane Austen. Everything about Persuasion moved me, my mom and I took a trip to Bath where we visited all the Jane Austen sites and places that featured in her books. It made the story come alive, I've actually just written an article on this, watch out for it soon!
3 - Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold. This image of a man desiring change from oppression and staring across the channel from Dover over to France where the French Revolution has already begun. Poetry is so much a part of the social issues of our day, poets are the teachers through whose eyes we see societies feelings. This poem stayed with me.
4 - Gerard Manley Hopkins, a poet my high school teacher made us read. True he was always melancholy and questioning, but quite interesting.
5 - Wole Soyinka, Ake the years of Childhood. Every year in university we were handed a list of African writers we had to read, a lot of them wrote some seriously shocking things I did not read. But Wole Soyinka was a whole different story, Ake is a biography with a compelling narrative written n 1981. 

So this is my off the beaten track list of classics, what's on your list!