Posts Tagged ‘setting up a website’

There are always new things to learn in life, aren’t there? At times, I hear or read of some author or composer or artist and realise I have never explored any of their work, despite how interesting it sounds. At other times, I see glimpses of intriguing places on TV I know little about. Then occasionally, I poke my head into the inner workings of my website and quickly retreat. How true it is that, the more we learn, the more we realise we don’t know!

I discovered this again recently when helping a granddaughter with her art assignment. Now, I am a writer—definitely not an artist. In fact, I know nothing about art. Granted, I was helping because of my writing experience, but one does need to know something about a topic before writing about it! And so began my journey of reading how the 16th century artist Titian, the 20th century artist Picasso and the present-day artist/photographer Morimura have portrayed the female form!

To my surprise, I soon became truly interested. It was fascinating to discover what certain symbols meant in their artworks and how these artists connected with issues in society. As a result, I am now keen to find out about other artists too and learn to appreciate their works more.

Then, last week, our oldest granddaughter asked my advice about her religion assignment for the Catholic teachers’ college she attends. She was simply checking she understood what she had to do, but our conversation set me thinking. This assignment involved the parable of the lost or ‘prodigal’ son—or, as some call it, the parable of the forgiving father—and one task was to explain the main theological point of this story. So, I decided to try it for myself—I was sure I could write five hundred words on the topic easily and quickly.

I turned to Luke 15—but, as I began writing, the whole profound nature of this parable Jesus told began to impact me more and more. Soon, I had to stop and reflect on it all over again. How arrogant and uncaring was that younger son, in asking his father for his inheritance then and there? Then how could he have gone off and wasted it all? In the light of all that, how could the father in the story keep watching out for him, then embrace him and welcome him home with such joy and compassion? But … I wouldn’t have been as resentful as that older son was—or would I?

As I sat there, I was overwhelmed once again with the enormity of our heavenly Father’s love for us in seeking us out, running to embrace us and welcome us into his family, as we too return home and believe in Jesus. I did nothing to deserve such compassion and forgiveness. Instead, it is all about grace—the most amazing, wonderful grace.

I did not anticipate such a profound and humbling experience that morning, as I sat thinking about our granddaughter’s assignment. Yet what a joy to be reminded in such an expected way of the incredible richness I have in God!

I too am loved. I too have come home.

… this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ Luke 15:24

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I wonder if you have experienced how good it is at times to turn from an extremely focused, brain intensive task to a job that requires little thought on your part. We can bemoan how these boring jobs waste our precious time—or at least, that’s what I caught myself doing one day this past week. I had much more important things to do, I grumbled, like preparing for some upcoming talks I’m giving, like cooking, like—well, like actually writing for a change. That would be good, seeing I am a writer!

Still grumbling, I spread out all the paraphernalia for my two easy rote jobs needing to be done, ready to begin my first task—sticking white labels on the back of about three hundred business cards, in order to let customers know about my new website, www.soulfriend.com.au, set up specifically for my new non-fiction book.  I didn’t want to waste the cards I have, so had decided to try this option. Over and over, I removed labels and stuck them on, getting into quite a rhythm in the process.

My second task had a few other components to it. It involved folding five different greeting cards produced by a friend, collecting one of each and placing all five together in a cellophane packet, along with five envelopes, then sealing the packet by ripping off a strip of very light plastic from the top and folding a flap down. Easy really—and again I worked out a kind of system. Except the light plastic strips had a very annoying way of clinging to my fingers and refusing to be shaken off, whatever I did!

But somewhere in the midst of all these mundane tasks, something happened inside me. I began to realise a few things. And I began to suspect they were in fact little lessons my heavenly Father might want me to take note of. Firstly, how thankful I needed to be, I realised, that I actually have a business card and something to advertise! By the grace of God, I now have five published novels and one non-fiction book, plus the ability to speak on a variety of topics. Moreover, how thankful I needed to be for my website itself! One of our daughters had carefully guided me through setting this up—a huge gift and help to me. As well, most of the information on mentoring and spiritual direction/spiritual friendship I was able to include there had come from the many different experiences and resources God has brought my way over the years. I had been given much, I realised—and I needed to share it.

As for my friend’s packs of greeting cards, I began to see again what a privilege it was to do this small task for her. She has gone overseas to a hard place to share the good news with others—what was I doing, sitting in my lounge room complaining? Besides, I have had some lovely conversations with people as I have sold these cards alongside my books in many different venues in recent years. I needed these firm reminders from God, I realised, to set my thinking straight and to gain God’s perspective once again.

Do you perhaps need similar reminders right now too?

Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength, seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done … Psalm 105:1-5a

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I must admit I was a little tired as I made my way along the tunnel that stretches for what seems like forever from Broadway in Sydney, under busy George Street and into the very heart of Central Station. And I was a little preoccupied. I had just attended a meeting where I could feel the pain of some of those present as they asked questions of the speaker at the end. My heart went out to these women and men, caught in the dilemma of disagreeing with decisions made by their church hierarchy, yet wanting to maintain unity in the Body of Christ. How was it these things happened, I wondered. And how much were we grieving God in the process?

On top of that, my mind was in a whirl as I remembered all the tasks waiting for me at home, especially in relation to the upcoming release of my new book Soul Friend. I needed to check with some places where I planned to sell my books. I had email lists to sort out before I could share the news of my book release. But above all, I needed to help my daughter set up a new website for me, dedicated to my new book and related topics. We had struck some trouble, firstly in purchasing the domain name we wanted and then in trying to get the site up and running. It was frustrating, to say the least.

It was amazing then that I noticed the busker in the tunnel at all. But soon I realised that, above the noise of a heavy suitcase being wheeled along in front of me and people chattering loudly as they rushed along, I could hear a plaintive melody. I looked across the tunnel and noticed an old, Chinese gentleman, playing a traditional, stringed instrument—possibly an erhu or similar ancient fiddle, with a box-like compartment at one end. I slowed my pace—and then it dawned on me that he was playing the old hymn, ‘What a friend we have in Jesus’.

My first thoughts were to wonder what this gentleman’s story was and where he had learnt this hymn. I looked across at him and smiled—and he smiled back. I hesitated, but then decided to continue on. There were so many people rushing by—and I needed to catch my train.

As I walked on, I could still hear that plaintive melody, the words that accompany it echoing in my mind:

What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and grief to bear!

What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!

Oh, what peace we often forfeit! Oh what needless pain we bear!

All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

How much the people at the meeting I attended needed to remember that, I reflected. How much I myself needed to take that message to heart, in the midst of my frustration about websites and launches and the like! Then I remembered some words I had read in Scripture that very morning:

The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results. James 5:16b

So I prayed as I walked and as I sat in that train on my way home. I prayed for my friends’ situation and I prayed for my own. And I thought about Jesus, the Friend who died for us and who truly cares.

What a Friend we have in Jesus! May you too experience his peace today as you walk and talk with him.

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