About Shirley

Shirley Corder is an author who writes to inspire and encourage. She has a passion for helping other writers and cancer survivors.

Making Cards For Love

A Fruitful Hobby

Many years ago, I made cards as a hobby. I ran a small card-making group within the church, called Cards 4 Luv.

Once a month we got together to create cards especially for a place of safety in a neighboring suburb. Our goal was to show love for the children who had been removed from their homes for different sad reasons.

Once a month we posted off a card to each child in the home, just to tell them we loved them. They mattered. Life might suck for them right now, but God loved them more than they could imagine—and He had a plan for them.

We signed each card, “Your secret friend.”

We never met any of the children, but I was in frequent contact with the lady in charge. She would phone me to say a child had gone home, or a new child had arrived and give the details. One of us would immediately send of a ready-made card to the new child welcoming him or her to our list and telling them to expect a card each month.

The housemother would also tell us if a child was sick or needed a cardie hug from our Cards 4 Luv store, and we would send a card off immediately. We all sent them cards on their birthdays, so they had about 6 or 7 cards in their post alcove on their special day.

A New Look at Cards

Recently, I took up card-making again, but purely as a hobby. I’m part of a bigger group of ladies that meet once a month, and sometimes on a Saturday in between. We learn a new technique each month, so I’m constantly working at improving my craft.

It is a source of amazement to me how we all follow the same instructions, cut to the same dimensions, use similar tools, and yet we come out with such a selection of lovely but different cards.

Isn’t there a lesson here for us? God has made us using the same techniques. He’s given us the same body parts. We all have the same organs (unless we’ve had some removed of course!) and the same material keeping them all together. We call that skin. Some have black skin, some brown, some yellow, some white . . .

We have different hairstyles and texture, some from birth and some through bottles or salons. Although we were all made the same, we all look so different.

We react in various ways to situations, and we communicate with different mannerisms.

We differ from other animals in the way we handle our emotions.  A word (or card) of love or encouragement helps us feel good. A harsh word or action causes our feelings to plummet.

Sometimes those of us in the card group mess up one of our creations. The temptation is to stamp our feet and throw the offending article in the trash. But we know that sometimes out of our mistakes can come something beautiful. So we cut, trim, add or subtract to the card, and in no time we have produced something we are truly proud of.

Words of Love

What will you do with your words (or cards) today? Is there some way you can use them to build up the people you have contact with? Will you pass on positive messages of encouragement to them?

Will you pay special attention to the unlovely person, the unhappy teenager or the angry older lady? See what you can do to sweeten their day. You may be thrilled with the outcome of your efforts.

Think for a moment. Do you make cards? Would you be able to give some of your Cards 4 Luv  to someone who needs a cardie-hug?

Whatever your interests, what can you do today to bring joy or show love to someone you’ll be in contact with? I’d love you to type a suggestion in the comment section below.

You might also enjoy:

Desert Road
Wonderful World
Even Elephants Communicate

 

 

 

Share Your World ~ May 29

This entry is part 3 of the series Share Your World

Here are my answers to this week’s questions on the Share Your World (SYW) blogging challenge:

SYW: What is the most famous landmark or building you have ever seen?

The Voortrekker Monument outside of Tswane (renamed from Pretoria) in S.Africa was built as man’s side of a covenant with God.

In 1838, in order to escape British rule as well as endless wars with the native Xhosas, the Afrikaans-speaking Boers (literally “farmers”) left the Cape Colony. They loaded their possessions into ox wagons and rounded up their cattle. Then they set out on their north-easterly trek, going where no white man had ever been.

Before long, the Voortrekkers (pioneers) encountered the mighty Zulu nation. Leader Piet Retief and 69 of his men were unexpectedly butchered to death by the Zulu king, Dingaan, and his impi (group of armed men.) In subsequent attacks, hundreds of men, women and children lost their lives. So an army of about 470 Voortrekker men set out to avenge Retief’s death.

On the 15th December, the pioneers camped along the banks of the Ncome River. Scouts warned them of an approaching Zulu Impi of over 12,000 warriors.

The Voortrekkers drew their wagons into a D-shaped lager (a circle of wagons secured together, with their animals corralled in the center). As they prepared to defend themselves, they prayed for God’s intervention. Their leader, Andries Pretorius, led the Voortrekkers in a vow to God. If He protected them against the attacking Zulus, the country would always commemorate that day as a Sabbath. They would also build a church to honor God’s name.

That night a heavy mist prevented the Zulus from attacking. Two hours before dawn, the Voortrekkers once again recited the covenant.

The dreaded attack

The attack came at dawn. The Zulus fought with shields and assegais, while the Voortrekkers had muzzle loaders, muskets and cannons. By midday, on 16th December, over 3,000 Zulu corpses littered the ground. The river had turned red with blood, and to this day the battle is known as The Battle of Blood River. Only three Voortrekkers were injured and none killed. The pioneers held a sober thanksgiving service, the first annual memorial service.

Several churches and monuments were built to commemorate this famous war. The best known is the Voortrekker Monument, outside the city of Tshwane.

This spectacular building has a small hole in the top of the roof. At exactly midday on 16th December, a ray of sunlight shines through the hole onto a cenotaph on the lower level of the monument. It falls upon the words, “Ons vir jou, Suid-Afrika” (Afrikaans for “We for Thee, South Africa.”) This phrase is part of the country’s national anthem. The light symbolizes God’s blessing on the life and work of the Voortrekkers.

Today, December 16th is still celebrated as a public holiday, although it is now called “The Day of Reconciliation” for political reasons.

SYW: Do you like long vacation or lots of mini-vacations?

Definitely a long vacation, although it is many years since I was able to enjoy one. I find it takes me 3 or 4 days to start to relax, so the mini-vacation is at an end before I start to enjoy it.

SYW: What is your favorite National or State Park?

The Kruger National Park. This is one of the largest game reserves in Africa, covering an area of 19,485 square kilometers (7,523 square miles.) It is situated in the northeastern part of South Africa.

All five of the Big Game animals are found here, i.e. lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard and the rhinoceros. In addition, the park boasts a large population of wild-life from the graceful giraffe to the ugly crocodiles, dangerous snakes and a vast array of bird-life.  

What is your fantasy vacation?

All my life I have longed to visit Switzerland and surrounding areas. Today that dream also includes the opportunity to spend time with my daughter and son-in-law who are currently based in Monte Negro.

Optional Bonus question:

What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I think the highlight of last week was the opportunity to watch The King and I once again, this time with a group of friends from the retirement village where we live.

As I write this (but after you read it!) I am looking forward to attending the live show, Annie Get Your Gun in the theater, this time with a group of about 18 fellow members of the Happy Echo choir. We are blessed by some great theater groups and stage performances here in Port Elizabeth, and we often are able to attend with groups such as this.

SYW: What is the highlight of your week?

I’d love you to share in a comment below.

SYW: How about joining Share Your World?

This is a blogging challenge headed up by Cee Neuner.

Cee posts a few questions each week, and all participants need do is answer them. It’s a cool way to get to know one another. The idea is to answer the questions without overthinking them and just have fun. If you are interested in joining this blogging challenge—just copy/paste the above questions into a new post and answer them. Then put the link for your post here: Cee’s Challenge.

Desert Road

Originally published in December, 2007.  Updated 3 May 2017

Into the desert

On our holiday away from home, we had to travel through an area of arid desert. We turned off the tarmac onto a gravel dirt road. It looked long and straight and as if it was without end.
The sun baked down on the parched earth, and we were grateful for our air conditioner that ran at maximum speed.
“Even the birds keep away,” I remarked to my husband.
“Yes, apart from the occasional vulture, and I should think they find plenty animal corpses out here to feast upon.”
No clouds offered the promise of rain. All we could rely on was the knowledge that if there was a way in, there must also be a way out.

A lesson for life

This also applies to life, doesn’t it?
No matter how difficult or barren our lives may be at times, there is always a way out of the predicament. Every bleak situation will eventually offer us an ending.
God promises He will always supply an escape route.

Hosea 2:14-15 (CEV)

I, the LORD, will lure you into the desert and speak gently to you. I will return your vineyards, and then Trouble Valley will become Hopeful Valley.

Pray with me?

Lord, help me to learn the lessons of the desert, then show me how to move on.

How do you face times of trial that seem never-ending?

I’d love you to add a comment below and let’s be in touch.

If you leave me a live link, I’ll get back to you.

Other inspirational posts from Africa:

Even Elephants Communicate
The Shepherd with an Impossible Dream

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Share Your World ~May 22

This entry is part 6 of the series Share Your World

Here are my answers to this week’s questions on the Share Your World (SYW) blogging challenge:

SYW: What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? 

Both my husband and I have had a marriage-long dream (that is 50 years come August!) to travel up to see the Spring Flowers in the neighboring country of Namibia. People travel from all across the world to see them, yet we have never been there.

SYW: How often do you get a haircut?

Once every 6-8 weeks. My hair would prefer every 6 weeks, but if I don’t have any special function I stretch it to 8 weeks to save money. Any longer that that and it becomes impossible. My curls all go in their own direction. Not a pretty sight.

SYW: In regards to puzzle what’s your choice: jigsaw, crossword, word search or numeric puzzles?

I enjoy an occasional jigsaw when we’re on holiday (vacation), and the same with crosswords. I very occasionally do a word search and enjoy the occasional Sudoku. So that’s really clear isn’t it? What’s my choice? More or less all equal. 🙂

SYW: In how many cities have you lived? You can share the number of physical residences and/or the number of cities.

The short answer is, I think, eleven actual cities/towns.

More than you want to know:

Looking at residences, I’ve lived in twenty different homes. And no, I wasn’t a foster kid, nor were we gypsies.

  • Born in Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland.
  • Childhood from 4 years-old spent in Gwelo, Rhodesia (six different residences).
  • Lived in Mowbray, then Rondebosch, then Claremont, all suburbs of Cape Town, during my student nurse days.
  • Got married and lived in Hillbrow, Johannesburg then moved to Florida another suburb but 45 minutes in the train away from the city.  Had our first baby.
  • Lived in Cape Town central prior to moving to Lansdowne, Cape Town, then Sybrand Park, Cape Town. Had our second baby.
  • Moved on to Beaconsfield, Kimberley, the city of Big Hole fame for a further 3 years. Had our third baby and decided we needed to stop moving so much!
  • Emigrated to Rhodesia (before it was renamed Zimbabwe) and lived in Hatfield, suburb of Salisbury (now Harare).
  • Four years later, immigrated back to South Africa, and lived in Cambridge, East London for 6 years.
  • Off to Krugersdorp, outside of Johannesburg. There we gained a son-in-law, two grandchildren and two prospective daughters-in-law.
  • Thirteen years passed before we moved to Elgin in the Cape Overberg and the two daughters-in-law became Corders. Gained another two grandbabies.
  • After 4 years, retired to Port Elizabeth where we live in the beach suburb of Summerstrand. Gained a further two grandchildren.

Whew!

SYW: Optional Bonus question:  

What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Last week was of course the wonderful discovery of unbranded cutting dies on eBay. I cheated and used that last week! Happy Echoes, the senior choir which we both belong to, put on a successful concert to a very responsive audience at a Retirement Club. Rob is one of two comperes, and I am the deputy director of the choir, so it’s always great to know we’ve brought joy to some of the seniors we entertain.

This week:

On Friday evening, we have another concert—this time at an elite retirement village. We have been invited to buy “Vetkoek” for supper while we are there. This is a traditional South African dish, where dough is fried in deep fat. The result is similar to a doughnut only without the hole.

Creative Commons

It is usually filled with curried mince and topped with cheese. Alternatively, it is filled with jam (American jelly) and cheese. These are very yummy, so we definitely plan on having supper there, hopefully after we sing. If supper is before, we’ll have to “take a doggy bag.”

Hmm.

How do you say that in American English? I’m not sure. Please tell me in the comment section. It’s when you take home what you haven’t eaten in a polystyrene or cardboard container.

For some obscure reason, when they are served with curried mince, they are often referred to as Curried Bunnies. If you’re ever in South Africa and you’re offered a curried bunny, do accept. They’re delicious—and have nothing to do with fluffy little animals!

To end with a chuckle.

The word vetkoek literally means “fat cake” as it is made of dough and cooked in boiling fat. One of our choir members is Dutch and she wanted to tell us all about the vetkoek that would be on sale. She translated the word “vetkoek” literally and announced on Whatsapp: “If you want to buy them, there will be fat cooks for sale!”

Anyone wanting a fat cook to help them in the kitchen?

I’d love you to leave a comment, and perhaps you could also tell me how you refer to “doggy bags” (remaining food you can take home) in your country. 

Share Your World is a blogging challenge headed up by Cee Neuner.

Cee posts a few questions each week, and all participants need do is answer them. It’s a cool way to get to know one another. The idea is to answer the questions without overthinking them and just have fun. If you are interested in joining this blogging challenge—just copy/paste the above questions into a new post and answer them. Then put the link for your post here: Cee’s Challenge.

It’s a Wonderful World

Originally published in 1 Jan 2008. Updated 3 May 2017.

 

Have you ever stopped to look around and marvel at the beauty that surrounds you each and every day?

Have we got so used to it, we take it for granted?

The New South Africa

In 1994, we in South Africa experienced the ushering in of “The New South Africa” as it was widely called. For a period, the euphoria spread across the nation as people of all color—black, brown, yellow and white—joined together under the new leadership of Nelson Mandela and F.W.de Klerk.

The Rainbow Nation

As a tribute to the new nation, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Prize-winner (1984) and political activist, coined the phrase, “The Rainbow Nation.” He saw us as one nation made up of all different colors.

A wonderful world

It’s clear that God loves color. We only need to look around at nature to see this. See the fiery reds and oranges of an African sunset compared to the coolness of a blue sky mirrored in a calm sea. See tiny shoots of yellow, pink or red as they push their way through the life-promising green to herald the arrival of Spring.

We only need to look at nature to see how God loved color! Click To Tweet

No color is better than another, yet a khaki rose would not compare with its red counterpart, and blue earth defies imagination. In the same way, God has also made us different. He didn’t mean us to be identical. We have different natures, life-styles, cultures and abilities. Our appearance differs, whether we look at hairstyles, physiques or skin colors. Yet, just as those colors join together to make one rainbow, we are called to be one people under God.

We have many parts in the one body, and all these parts have different functions. In the same way, though we are many, we are one body in union with Christ, and we are all joined to each other as different parts of one body. So we are to use our different gifts in accordance with the grace that God has given us (Romans 12:4-6a GNB. )

Take a look around

Look around you now, and take note of the colors you see in your surroundings. Red? √ Blue? √ Purple? √  Green? √ In fact, I can’t think of any color that I can’t see, and I haven’t moved from my computer seat!

How about you?

What colors can you see without leaving where you are?

Tell me something about yourself. What gifts do you have? Where do you live in our wonderful world?

I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below and if you leave a live link, I’ll get back to you.

Other similar posts:

Even Elephants Communicate
The Shepherd with an Impossible Dream

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Share Your World May 15th

This entry is part 5 of the series Share Your World

My Favorite Way to Start the Day!

Here are my answers to the questions posed for the Share Your World blogging challenge:

How many languages do you speak?

I speak two languages: English, my primary tongue and Afrikaans.

What are you reading, watching, listening to, eating?

  • I am currently reading The Last Plea Bargain by Randy Singer.
  • My husband and I are watching a series of DVDs called “The Mentalist”.
  • I’m listening to podcasts by Joanna Penn on different aspects of writing on my mp3 player.
  • I’ve just finished eating breakfast—muesli with added oat bran, nuts and raisins, Bulgarian yoghurt and low fat milk.

What was the last photo you took with your phone?

“Spring Flowers” (see below).  We have a spectacular display of spring flowers—wherever there is a patch of vacant land. The only problem with this photo is it’s May and we’re just heading into winter!

What is your favorite time of day? 

Sitting up in bed when I first awake, cradling my coffee mug brought by my wonderful husband, and thinking of all the wonderful things I’m going to achieve during the next 12 to 14 hours. (Not that I ever achieve them all, but it’s nice to imagine!)

Optional Bonus question:

What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

I was extremely grateful for two very different things last week.

  • I was so thrilled to see outbreaks of Spring Flowers bursting into bloom on deserted patches of vacant land. Especially as we’re moving from summer into winter! The little flowers are as confused with the weather as we are, but it’s as if they’re saying, “Don’t worry! We’re here now and we’ll be back on Spring Day (1st September)!” (I hope they remember!)

 

  • I’m cheating and including Sunday as last week. I had a wonderful Mother’s Day (here in S.Africa) scrolling through a wealth of unbranded dies on eBay that come from China! No shipping costs!I ordered 10 dies or die-sets for the price I anticipated paying for one here! And before you write to warn me, I know a number of people who have already got some from this source and I’m assured they are top quality and cut well. So here goes . . .  It’s difficult to choose my favorite, but here are my two top choices:
Spanish Galleon, ideal for boy’s or men’s cards.

 

Card-sized die with center separate.
Such potential.

 

And I’m looking forward to . . .

On Saturday 20th we have a “Cardies” get-together. About 15-20 of us get together once a month and one of the leaders demonstrates a new card technique. This week we’re learning how to make these cards:

 

Bargello Card

Waterfall card

 

That’s all for this week. What piece of information have I shared about “My World” that you didn’t know about before? I’d love you to let me know in a comment below. I love reading about other writers or bloggers and their lives.

Share Your World

This is a blogging challenge headed up by Cee Neuner.

Cee posts a few questions each week, and all participants need do is answer them. It’s a cool way to get to know one another. The idea is to answer the questions without overthinking them and just have fun. If you are interested in joining this blogging challenge—just copy/paste the above questions into a new post and answer them. Then put the link for your post here: Cee’s Challenge.

Also read: Share Your World – May 8th

 

 

The Shepherd with an Impossible Dream

https://www.flickr.com/photos/riot/54970673 by RogiroAn impossible dream . . .

Tembo was a shepherd boy who lived in a makeshift hut in the mountains of Lesotho.

Often he watched airplanes streak overhead en route for distant cities. One day he cried out, “If only I could fly one of those.”

Some years later, a missionary met Tembo and he got to know him. Impressed with the boy’s dream he gave him a job cleaning hangers.

The years passed, and Tembo’s hard work was noticed. He was promoted to better positions. Kind-hearted pilots gave him lessons in his off-duty hours.

One memorable day, the shepherd boy from Lesotho received his pilot’s licence. God had known all along where that young boy was, and He had a plan for his life.

(True story—Name changed.)

My dream: 

I had an impossible dream—to attend a writers’ conference in the United States of America. I called it out to God, and I’ve been to two, not one. You can read about them here:

Sandy Cove Writers’ Conference, and Florida Writers’ Conference.

How about you?

Do you have an impossible dream? Do you have the courage to give it to God? Speak to Him about it, and He may surprise you. He just might bring it to pass!

Matthew 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. Matthew 19:26 Click To Tweet

PRAYER: Lord, help me to dream big dreams and trust you with the results.

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Share Your World – May 8th

This entry is part 4 of the series Share Your World

A change of habits.

I am changing my blogging habits for a while.

There’s nothing as good as a change of routine, right?

I’ve signed up to participate in a blogging challenge with a difference. I came across it on Deb’s World, and it sounds fun. It’s called Share Your World and is headed up by Cee Neuner. She posts a few questions each week, and all participants need do is answer them. It’s a cool way to get to know one another. The idea is to answer the questions without overthinking them and just have fun.  I’m looking forward to it. Feel free to join in by copying the questions and then write your answers in a new post linking back to Cee’s original post.

I presume we then visit some of our fellow participants in the blogging challenge. That way we will get to know one another.

So here we go.

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Ten Ways to Make Your Blog Unique

This entry is part 9 of the series International English

Do you want your site to stand out in the noise of the Internet?

Do you want a unique blog or website?

So what is your goal?

Are you hoping to make it the best in your niche? Then I need to disillusion you.

Sorry.

You will never be the best. According to the stats at the time, in 2013  there were an estimated 152,000,000 blogs on the Internet. Yep, 152 million! And that was years ago. There are doubtless many many more today. And guess what. Many of them will be in your niche!

I’m sure you’re good, but that good?

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