About Shirley

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

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.

read more

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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Even Elephants Communicate

elephants communicate with one another

Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.
(Proverbs 12:25 NIV).

Animals communicate with one another.

From the gigantic elephant to the tiny ant, they “speak” to one another.

Humans too communicate with one another. Our words can lift up and encourage. When spoken at the right time they have great value.

When the wrong words are spoken, or even the right words at the wrong time or attitude, it would be better if they weren’t spoken at all.

Let us ask God to make our hearts and words available to Him, and that we may be sensitive to speak at the right time.

Sometimes it is said, “Christians are the only army that stab each other in the back.”

This ought never to be true. Let us concentrate this week on building one another up and encouraging those with whom we have contact.

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Six Tips to Safeguard Your Comments from Spam

safeguard your comments from spamRecently, I received a note on a Facebook Group: “I can’t leave comments on this post.”

I checked, and sure enough, my settings were clearly marked to close comments after 21 days.  The post was a couple of years old, but it was a good one, and I wanted to bring it out of hibernation.

So why did I have comments closed?

That setting is to try and prevent spam. Spammers usually leave their damage on old posts where you’re not likely to notice them.

I wrote to fellow members of a blogging group I belong to on FaceBook and asked them what they did. Their responses showed that almost all of them left their comments permanently open, but took steps to protect them from spam.

I realized that in the two years both of my websites including two blogs have been operational, I have never had one piece of spam. So in the words of Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music, “Somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good!” But the time had come to test my theory. I removed the 21 day limit for the month—and intend leaving the restriction off.

I read somewhere the comment, “A blog without comments is a telephone with no earpiece.” You may not get many comments, but those you do will immediately add to the value and uniqueness of your site.

So what is the answer? How can you safeguard your comments from spam?

Here are six suggestions: read more

Zing and Zeal for Your Blog

This entry is part 28 of the series Build a Better Blog

Z is for zing and zealWe’ve come to the end of the Build a Better Blog alphabet, and today  we’re looking for that final touch. We have two words today.

Zing and Zeal!

First some definitions.

My dictionary describes zing as the activeness of an energetic personality.

It also suggests a brief high-pitched buzzing or humming like “the zing of the passing bullet”.

For those of us participating in the A to Z Challenge it would be appropriate to mention the zing of April as it sped past! But that’s not the sense we’re using in this closing post, but rather the activeness of an energetic personality.

Zeal according to my dictionary means  a feeling of strong eagerness, excessive fervor to do something or accomplish some end, and finally prompt willingness..

Face your blog with  a combination of zing and zeal and I guarantee it will take off!

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