Where Were You? At Nyaru!

I have posted this entry on Tripadvisor, as well as my Niume blog, but the photos are not necessarily the same as the one in this post.

Many private game/nature reserves often lean towards being just a touch pretentious.  This is not the case with Nyaru.  The place is a tranquil, family-friendly getaway, about a half hour from Mossel Bay.  Two Saturdays ago my parents and I visited the reserve, just to have some much-needed down-time.  We weren’t really sure what to expect, because after all, we’re not really bush people.  But…it was close enough from home for us, and as we didn’t have to travel far, we were able to use the money we would have spent on fuel, on a game viewing experience.

20170218_162600

When making the booking, the process was handled quickly and efficiently, by a lady named Sarah, who followed up with a printable copy of the confirmation.  I made a special request for an early check-in, which was met with special consideration.  The check-in process was also dealt with quickly and we were showed to our accommodation by a young, friendly member of staff named Lauren.  Not long after we had unpacked, Sarah came to personally check on us, to see if everything was to our satisfaction.

The facility offers various accommodation options – The Nightjar Retreat, which is the only option that offers a bath and shower.  All other rooms, be they villas or chalets, have showers only.  The balcony not only overlooks the dam, but gives the occupants a 180-degree view of the reserve.  If you’re a keen game-, or bird watcher, don’t forget to pack in a pair of binoculars.

We stayed in one of the villas, which, like the chalets, are self-catering units.  Each villa has large sliding doors which open onto a small verandah, overlooking the pool and the mountains, giving the illusion of space and airiness.

While all the villas are furnished to the same design, each villa is unique in its selection of furnishings.  The one we stayed in had two large vintage-like wingback chairs, African artwork-, and a large wall clock made out of a barrel. It had a large double bed, with two bedside lamps.  The other villa, which I viewed for comparison in this review had two leather single-seater couches, twin beds, a single bedside lamp, abstractly-modern art- and a large silver clock on the wall.

Both villas were equipped with flat screen televisions, a sleeper couch (for a third guest) and selected satellite TV channels (although with the breath-taking surroundings, I am not sure one really needs TV).

I am quite the advocate of a small kitchenette in any room, because when I’m away, I don’t want to be dictated to by meal times, or schedules.  I had enough of that in boarding school!  The kitchenette is well-equipped with crockery, cutlery, an induction hot-plate, the requisite pots to us on the hot-plate, airtight-containers for left-overs and a fridge/freezer.

There are a few small things that need attention in the villa we stayed in, which did not at all negatively impact our overall experience.  We did mention these ‘snags’ upon our departure and Sarah assured us that our comments have been noted and that the required action will be taken to rectify these issues.

Only my parents and I were booked for the 16:30 game viewing experience, which made it a special family affair.  Our outgoing guide, Natasja, answered all our questions and shared her knowledge with us.  Her love of bird-watching was also evident as she pointed out many ground-, and tree-dwelling birds to us.  It must be mentioned though, that if you’re looking to see the Big-5, then this may not be the lodge for you.  There are many species of antelope to be seen, as well as giraffe, ostriches and zebra, to name but a few.

The resident meerkat and warthog are huge hits and are happy to pose for a photo with the guests.

20170218_162323

 

20170219_085356

After our drive, Natasja was kind enough to show me the chalets as well.  The little thatched units are cosy and depending on the number of guests, can house 3, or 5 people.  Each chalet also has its own verandah but includes a braai area.  The chalets are also located much closer to the main reception/dining area than the Nightjar Retreat and the villas.  If you’re looking for a bit more privacy, I would recommend the villas rather than the chalets.  Both sets of accommodation have a small pool close by to cool off.

20170218_125058.jpg

 

We opted not to have a formal sit down dinner at the restaurant, but rather a picnic.  The selection of food blew us away!  While we were on our game drive, the staff set up the food at a small sheltered ‘lapa’ overlooking the entire reserve.  A true ‘dinner with a view’.  We did have an unexpected guest too.

20170218_18380920170218_184314

Ironically we were tuckered out from a day of fresh air and relaxation and retired to our clean, crisp, comfortable beds for a good night’s rest.  The following morning, after a steaming hot shower, we went to the restaurant for breakfast.  Many of the reviews I had read on Tripadvisor prior to booking stated the breakfast as rather ‘basic’.  I guess it depends on the guests’ expectations.  To me, a selection 2 juices, 3 cereals, fruit salad, cheeses, yoghurt, croissants, muffins, cheese and preserves and the option of a full hot breakfast of bacon, eggs (to preference), sausage, baked beans, hashbrown, tomato and toast, seem more than sufficient.  The only thing that I did miss at breakfast was filter coffee and hot milk (for both cereal and coffee).  The hot breakfast was served quickly, on a heated plate (big thumbs up), and again, it was a meal with a view.

We were quite sad to have to leave, because while we arrived as strangers, we left as friends.  We will definitely be back.  After all, this soul-restoring hidden gem, is literally, right on our doorstep.

20170209_195836

 

 

 

Exodus 20:12 / Ephesians 6:3

I want to be obedient and receive the promise of the two verses that head this post.  Sometimes though, I look at some people and think Thank God I am not them. And then I pray, God, please don’t ever let me turn out to be like them.  I don’t want to hurt the people closest to me.

There are a few situations that I know of, and while I’m not sure where to start, I feel very strongly to voice my (what many will feel is a personal attack on them (but hey, if the shoe fits…)) opinion.

I don’t like to ram my beliefs down anyone’s throat, but one thing I do believe s to “Honour your Father and your Mother”.  The Greek word for honour means “to revere, prize, and value.”  I believe that this honour means all the time, until they are no longer destined for this earth – not only when you as a child live with your parents, under their instruction and teachings, or when as an adult, you deem them to be deserving of it.  We forget that as we are growing up, our parents are growing older and that they may actually need us to be around for them – to revere their wisdom, prize their presence and value (what little) time we still have with them.  I’m the first to admit that I do fail at this, and when I do, I repent and try again, because I want to live a long life.

I was chatting to a friend’s mom, Patty, the other day.  Her dad. Arthur, is in a local old-age village, because he wants to be around people his own age and he enjoys all the activities that take place at the facility.  Every Wednesday, Patty and her husband pay Arthur a visit and on the weekends, Arthur spends time with them, at their home.  It is an arrangement that suits everyone.

Patty did tell me that there are many of the elderly people at the facility whose children don’t even bother to phone their parents.  One lady in particular’s children were here on holiday for almost a month, living it up in a hip beach house – not once did they fetch their mother to have her spend a day with them.  It got me wondering just how many children conveniently forget or simply toss aside their parents, for reasons unbeknownst to me – is it because their parents are no longer employed with an income to bankroll their children out of a bind, or because their parents have become frail and may need some extra care, or as I’ve heard one person say something in the lines of “Mom, you of all people should understand that I don’t have time – my kids keep me so busy”.

Screw that!  Your parents made time for you and were there for you whenever you needed them.  They deserve, at the very least, a visit if you’re passing through their town or a phone call on a day that is not their birthday or Christmas and not for you to hit them up for money, nor to tell them about all the luxuries you’ve purchased, when you know they’re struggling to keep their heads above water.

pict3725

 

Remember that you can get a new car, a new house, a new job, even a new spouse, have more kids, and possibly inherit some if you remarry, but you can never, ever, replace your parents when they are no longer here.

2016: It wasn’t All Bad

I didn’t type a post on January 1st as I have done for ages.  It’s not that I didn’t want to, I wasn’t of much value yesterday having rung in the New Year with Neil, Eliza, Neil’s friend, Grant and his wife, Casey (who happens to be Eliza’s cousin) and only had 4 hours of shuteye.  I’ll admit the hangover was deadly, but if I had to do it over, I would.  I had a great deal of fun and honestly, I was happy to see the back of a year in which I had shed a great deal of tears because of unsolved worries and constant financial and emotional stresses. It was a harsh, unforgiving year in the sense that I not only came to realize, but accept that many people are fickle and that they will only be in your life as long as you are able to give and they are able to take.  Once the proverbial well dries up, those same people who would telephone you once, sometimes twice, a week, can’t seem to operate the telephone anymore, nor can they make a special effort to pop in for coffee when they happen to be in the neighbourhood.  It hurts, and it makes me bitter, but I am not going to allow the bad vibes to cloud my hopes for 2017.  I also realized that there are good people out there too – people who I hardly know and who I least expected would care, who have proved to care more than some people I’ve known for a long time.

Looking back on some photos taken last year, I am grateful for the happy times that I had too.

Dad and I attended the first birthday of the parkrun.  I can’t remember when it was, but I do remember the theme was funny hats.  We didn’t do as many parkruns as we did in 2015, but this year that will change.  Dad has been very tired with his part-time job and the ridiculous hours involved, so I didn’t want to push the envelope too much.  It was good for us though, our bonding thing, so we need to get back into it.  It will also take his mind off the worries he has, albeit for a little while.

parkrun-birthday

Elizabeth’s sisters had babies early in the year – the first being Anna and Miles’s little princess, Karolyn and less than a month later, Ilne and Zachary welcomed their first-born, Harold to the world.  They are both sweet kids, with polar-opposite personalities.  Elizabeth is such a proud aunt, who shares their progress with me often.  Little Harold started walking just before Christmas.

I did a first aid course in April.  The course matter was intense, but the instructor made the day informative, interactive and fun.  My certificate is valid until 2019, but honestly I hope that nobody at work has a serious injury because I think my nerves may get the better of me.

first-aid

June I decided to do some baking.  I made a peanut butter and syrup swirl roll which turned out to be such a resounding success, a friend makes it regularly for her children.

june-bake

 

July I broke away to Shayla-Rae for a few days.  It was, as it always is, spectacular to see her.  She taught me how to stoke a proper wood-oven and she cooked on the stove for me every night because I was totally fascinated.  Let me tell you something:  a chicken roasted in a Dover oven tastes out of this world.

july-shelagh-rose-2

In August Carla, her friend, Elaine and I went to Benguela Cove where we did a wine and chocolate pairing – a first (but definitely not a last) for me.  It was a special day, a memory etched in my mind.

august-wine-tasting

September was a month of celebrations.  Mom turned 70 and she and dad also celebrated their silver wedding anniversary.  I took them for a fancy lunch and afterwards we ate cake – for days afterwards.

mom-birthdayanniversary

I also turned 18, for the 19th time and did something different – a Murder Mystery Party.  It took a lot of planning and while nobody was really sure what to expect, the evening was an absolute hit!

whodunnit

My Herbalife business picked up systematically throughout the year, and I’m trusting that the trend will continue upwards this year.  My upline had a promotion for the members in their team and I qualified for a Hawaiian themed-party in October!  Pictured here are all the qualifiers.

herbalife-qualiiersw-dinner

The same month I decided to give my hair a bit of a chop and while I hate selfies, many of my friends wanted to see the new look.  I like it, but sadly, finances don’t allow for a short do that requires constant upkeep.  By the end of 2017 my hair may very well be long enough for me to sit on!

haircut

One of the most special events that happened in October was the birth of Neil and Eliza’s second son, Leonard.  I am the first person that will tell you I am scared of babies, but he is special.  I have really bonded with him and look forward to cuddles from him when I go to visit them.  Their eldest son, Noel, who is three now is such a good big brother.

November Carla treated a number of us to a weekend away for her birthday.  We went to a tiny little place called Nature’s Valley (about two hours from here).  We had a special time, bonding as friends, over wine, laughter, food and the tranquility of the nature there.  I’m sure another weekend will be on the cards this year.  Topping the last one may prove a bit difficult, I think.

nv3nv2nv1

Elizabeth also had her birthday and my gift to her was an open-air movie at the Botanical Gardens in George.

movie-in-the-park

The last month of the year brought with it summer and with that, the annual Colour Run.  It is marketed as the happiest 5k on the planet and I think it lives up to that statement.  I was man-down afterwards because the heat was extreme.  It is fun and the positive vibe is electrifying.  The only downside is the struggle to get clean afterwards.  It took me three days to get all the paint out of my hair and off some parts of my body.  Will I do it again?  Absolutely!

colour-run

Dad also bought Mom a hand-reared cockatiel, who I named Marley.  It means misty meadows and she is grey, so it was a no-brainer.  She has proved to be a real joy.  She is only nine weeks old, and can be a bit of an attention-hog.

marleymarley-2

The saddest thing that happened in December was the devastating veld fires which raged for a few days.  There was speculation that someone had tossed a cigarette butt out of the car window, but it turned out that it was arson.  One of the fire-starters was caught red-handed and arrested.  People could have lost their homes and so many animals would have been displaced, or worse, killed.

veld-fire

There were other gems throughout the year – random drives with Mom to The Point to feed the seagulls, or simple pleasures like a beautiful sunrise, entering the American Green Card Lottery (I’ll know later this year if my application was successful, but I have a really good feeling that my dream of writing a novel in The Big Apple will be realized) a homemade grilled cheese sandwich, real boerekoffie in an enamel mug and even a spontaneous cheese and wine with a friend on the back of his bakkie.

In closing…

reach-for-the-stars

 

 

Looking Back on 2015…

And so 2015 is almost over…

 

Once again, as I pretty much do every year, I look back at the year gone by and reflect on both the good and the bad, grateful for everything that has happened because it is all those experiences that mould me into the person I am now, and will need to be to tackle the new year that lies ahead.

January I rang in the new year with some Herbalife friends.  We had a braai, and I learned to play beer-pong.  It was fun.  I got to play it with the same friends just this past Tuesday and have found that I am a very good player when standing on one leg!  January 1st also brought with it the birth of a very special, long-awaited little boy, Richard, born to Carmen and Ewan.  He is such a bundle of joy.

A week after New Year, I was fortunate enough to visit my long-time school-friend, Shayla-Rae at her home in Tsitsikamma.  She and her husband live in the forest.  I took some beautiful photos while I was there – we meandered through the forest.  It is a soul-restoring experience.
January Shelagh Rose
Shelagh Rose
Sadly, as is the case with all things fun, the visit ended too soon, but we have got to see each other numerous times throughout the year, for which I am thankful.
The same month, another school friend, Jessica, aka Wizard, celebrated her 35th birthday, Hollywood style.  The mandate was black ‘n white, with all the ladies having to don red lipstick.  It was a fun evening too, although it was the catalyst to a heartbreak, which I’m not going to get into here.  So, what do you all think?  Did I get the dress code right, or what?
An old boyfriend also got in touch, offering some sound advice, which made the heartbreak process a lot easier and quicker to deal with.  We rehashed some memories and had a few laughs.  It’s hard to believe that 15 years has passed.  He’s married now, with 2 kids, having lived in the UK, but back in SA.  What was great about getting in touch again was that the advice he gave me was from a guy’s viewpoint, but also a guy that knows me.  I look back now, after having followed the advice and realize, the heart-breaker and I would never have worked long term.  I would have got bored soon.  I always do…
Anyhow, onto February, the month of LOVE, or in my case tears and misery.  But, out of that, something really good has come.  Every cloud does indeed have a silver lining.
I made a new friend called Janine.  Or rather, she made friends with me.  She contacted me to tell me how sorry she was to hear what had happened just after the party.  At first I was apprehensive about replying to her message because honestly, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be friends with the the woman that had been portrayed as the reason for the dissolution of a marriage… but I learned, in just a moment, that this woman had more character than her ex-husband with whom I had been friends for almost nine months.  She has been more of a friend to me this year that some of my friends who live in the same town.  She has taught me about forgiveness, compassion, hope and I have seen that she is the polar opposite of a bad mother.  Not a week goes past without us talking and every time she has been in town to visit her parents, she has made time to catch up with me, even if it has just been for 45 minutes, over a quick coffee.  There is a mutual respect between us, even though I sometimes feel I don’t deserve hers.
Valentine’s Day  brought with it some shock as a video clip of an engagement hit FB.  The very heart-breaker had asked the cocktail waitress from Wizard’s party to marry him – a mere three weeks (yes, weeks) after knowing her.

As is custom when tears flow in our flat, my flat mate and her bestie took a red, bleary-eyed me to Eight Bells for a champagne breakfast.  We had some good laughs and I learned how to set my finger alight with alcohol and swallow the flame.  Don’t ask!  Not something I will try again in a hurry, but I wasn’t exactly in my full mind that day, given the circumstances.  Those two girls that “kidnapped” me and had me running around the car with them at red lights like a loopy teenager really made me realize that love is a gift and it was extra special because I got it when I really needed it after that devastating engagement blow.

 

March brought with it a new craze to Mossel Bay – the parkrun.  Dad and I took part with a number of our Herbalife friends.
Parrun March
I don’t remember what my time was, but it was sub-50 so I was very happy.

 I also shared in the happy occasion of my cousin Ashleigh marrying Arnold in the little town of Heidelberg, W. Cape.  Looking back I’m surprised I didn’t melt that day because it was hot as Haedes.  She was a beautiful bride, and had all her children (from her previous marriage) and grandchildren in her retinue.  It was a real family affair and they all looked so beautiful.  Arnold looked dashingly dapper in his Welsh kilt.  They make a great pair and I’m sure they are going to be incredibly happy living in Wales. It was a very intimate affair, which made it even more special.  I got to see my cousin Malcolm after a long time and we did lots of catching up.  I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed him until we actually started chatting and rehashing old times.  I am still thankful that I got to see him.  I only wish I had known it would be the last time.

I also got to meet Janine in person after a trip to Port Elizabeth with my colleague, Carolyn.  It was an interesting visit, because on the way there, Carolyn and I stopped at Tsitsikamma Falls and took a quick walk.
I twisted my ankle and by the time we got to PE I couldn’t walk.  Turns out I tore the ligaments and that put me out of gym training for much longer than the mandatory six weeks, which has snowballed into me gaining weight again 😦  Janine and I had a lovely visit with her cooking up an incredibly Banting “Paptert” for supper and us having brunch the following day at the beautiful Blue Waters Café, which co-incidentally is also owned by an old school friend of mine.
April brought with it Dad’s birthday.  Every time I see him I see that he’s aged a little, but he is still one of my biggest role models.  It also brought with it Easter, and for the first time in 35 years, no eggs *gasp*
May, like April, was a quiet month for me.  I have no photos to show for it 😦
June was a sad time for me.  I lost one of my best friends, my cousin Malcolm.  I read the tribute I wrote here in the church.  It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.  When I got back to my seat, my dad was crying, because my voice had cracked so many times, yet I maintained my composure.  I am still grateful that I got to see him at the wedding; that we got a chance to see each other one last time before he went to live with the angels.  I am still saddened when I think about his parents, his wife and his two little children.  Even as I sit here typing this, my eyes fill with tears.  I miss him.  He was only 44.  I was once again reminded that time with the people we love is limited, so I love the ones that are in my life, and I’m grateful everyday for them.  My parents, my friends, my colleagues…without them my life would be empty. This is how I remember Malcolm – taken at Ashleigh and Arnold’s wedding, with is wife Jana and daughter Mia.
March Malcolm

June also brought about good news though when Elizabeth’s younger sisters both found out that they were expecting!

July I hibernated.  It was cold!  But not without spending time with Shayla-Rae on the farm where she grew up.  I even learned how to bottle-feed a feisty lamb.

July Lamb
August I got treated to an incredible weekend away at a local lodge with my friend Theresa
T Madi madi August
after her beau at the time (who later turned out to be a scammer) couldn’t make it to join her.  It was a weekend that I will treasure for a long time because we had fun, saw incredible sunsets
Madi Madi Sunset
shared laughs, got accosted by a tame Springbok
went wine-tasting

and one evening when we were taking photos in the reserve at sunset, we heard vegetation crunching under animal footsteps.  To this day we don’t know what it was, but it was a big animal.  Theresa still whispered, “Do you think it is a snake?”  My reply, “Very big snake then…”  Needless to say we took very tentative steps to get back to the car, silently praying that we wouldn’t come eyeball-to-eyeball with a rhino or a buffalo.

 

September…the month where I attended training by my amazing Herbalife upline which inspired me not only to start dreaming again, but to dream BIG!  I had to get refocused on my Herbalife business, as well as helping the members in my organization, because if I wasn’t working, they wouldn’t be either. And if I wanted to achieve my dreams, I had to work at making them happen.
Dream Big - september
It was also the month I turned 18, for the 18th time!  I was meant to have a get together, but woke up with a tummy bug, which put paid to the plans.  It was meant to be rainchecked, but alas, the rest of 2015 ran over me like a freight train without brakes and here we are, on the brink of 2016.  I did get to have a family dinner with my parents at one of the best restaurants in town, Route 57.

October had me realizing that It was the best month I’ve had this year, and one of my members moved up in the marketing plan, giving herself a 10% increase.  I was incredibly proud of her because she has really worked consistently at her part time business.  Sometimes I want to tell her that she motivated me to catch a wake up again.

 

November… well, to say it was busy is an understatement!  The first weekend was the annual CANSA relay for life.  I popped in but didn’t stay long seeing as with my ankle, I am not allowed to walk any kind of distance at the best of times, what’s to be said of on unlevel ground.
The following weekend I went to Cape Town to attend my very first Herbalife extravaganza.  It was an experience that I cannot describe to someone who has not been there.  The energy of 5000 people in one room, radiating positivity, wanting to change lives, is absolutely phenomenal. For the first time in years, the company’s CEO, Michael O. Johnson was on stage.  All I can say, besides that he is incredibly handsome, is that he clearly loves what he does and that he is an inspiration!  Wow!!

Extravaganza 2 NovemberExtravaganza 1 NovemberMOJExtrav

An added bonus was that I got to have dinner with my long-time friend, Allan, who at nineteen years old than I am, is often a father-figure, but with a wicked sense of humour.  The last time we saw each other was five years before, also in Cape Town, for the FIFA World Cup soccer game between The Netherlands and Cameroon.
P and ali
The following weekend was a lot more relaxed, with some friends at a local wine farm, with no cellphone reception.  I think every three months a person needs a breakaway from technology.
 The last weekend saw me celebrating my friends Aaron and Mandy as they tied the knot in an intimate ceremony after having been together for ten years already.  Looking back on 2015, November was definitely the highlight.

Remember I mentioned Elizabeth’s sisters being pregnant?  Well, December brought a dual baby shower for them and it was a huge success with LOTS of presents.  The next day I joined Eliza and Nicolas for a Potluck-and-Pollyanna early Christmas lunch which was tremendous fun. There was SO much food.  We sang Christmas carols and had a church service in the house before lunch.  It was really something so special.  The minister preached to us about taking inventory of our lives, and I guess, to a point, this is what I am doing with this post.  It was a beautiful day, blessed with sunshine and a cool breeze off the sea.

I also had to say goodbye to my friend and neighbour, Zara.  She applied for a teaching post in Pretoria and it was successful.  We had one last night of wine-drinking on her patio…a superb bottle of 2008 Rooiberg Cabernet Sauvignon.  Zara also decided that it would be the night that she would braai a fish.  Even though she had no idea what she was doing, it turned out well.

Christmas Day was spent with my parents, over a lavish lunch at Down to Earth in Herold’s Bay (the same venue where Aaron and Mandy got married).

Christmas Lunch 2 Christmas Lunch

And here I am, December 31st, 2015…trusting that 2016 will be an equally good year, in which memories will be made, lives touched and happiness pursued.  To you, my readers, may it be a memorable year for every one of you!

That Peace…

…that Peace that Paul wrote to the Phillipians about…I received it!

Phillipians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (ESV)

A great deal of things happened this weekend…Roosterkoeks the size of tablets, coffee at Steve’s folks on their farm, a touch of the mysterious at Sulina’s Faerie Sanctuary, an ice-cold something at the Dros in Roberton, a wors-braai on Du Toit’s Kloof Pass, a walk from Three Anchor Bay to Sea Point and back, photos at Signal Hill, a stop at the Lindt shop, a pop in at that Waterfront, rugby in a box at Newlands, watching the lights from Ou Kaapse Weg, a drive over Chapman’s Peak, via Hout Bay and Camp’s Bay, feeding the squirrels and pigeons in the Company Gardens…but that is not what I want to share today… despite all these wonderful memories, one moment, a few fleeting seconds actually, is what I will probably carry closest to my heart for a long while still.

This past Sunday, whilst on a weekend away to Cape Town with Steve and Elizabeth, I experienced a fleeting few moments of that God’s Peace that surpasses all understanding.

On a whim, we jumped in the car at 06:25 to find a good spot to check out the sunrise…knowing that the best sunsets are seen from the southern side of Cape Town, I took the two “tourists” up the scenic Boye’s Drive then into Fishoek where we decided to take a walk on the beach. I was dressed in my skinny jeans and the shirt I’d slept in (we weren’t initially planning to be getting out where people would see us) and no shoes. While Steve and Elizabeth took photos I rolled up my jeans (with no real success) and put my feet in the water. Before I knew it I was thigh deep and after a quick conference with Elizabeth regarding the use of her jersey, I walked right back into the water and it happened…just before I dived under the waves, there was complete silence around me.

Image

I could have dived under the waves and not resurfaced. It wouldn’t have mattered because…I. was. at. Peace.

I can’t qualify my experience with words, be they spoken or written. All I can say is that in that fleeting five to eight seconds, nothing in my life mattered, except me and my Father in Heaven. He touched me in a supernatural way – I have been teary ever since, but I know that tears bring healing, so I am letting them flow. God is working in me, making changes for the better. So, even as I am not sure what lies ahead, I know that I can walk in faith, because I am filled with peace.

Brain Itch

Image

Elizabeth invited me to join her, Gabriel and Steve to go and watch a local show, but I am really budget conscious right now, and besides that, God had an appointment with me at church last night.  In actual fact, He’s had appointments with me the entire weekend, but more about that in a minute… Has it ever happened to you that you can listen to a song, regardless of the genre and enjoy it for the piece of magic it is, but out of the blue, that same song will take on an entirely new meaning, and tug at your soul?  If not, then I don’t think you’re normal…

Last night in church we sang “Jesus, Lover of my Soul” and while I’ve sung it countless times, last night I really understood the words.  “You’ve taken me from the miry clay…”  You see, since moving into my own place, things have been hard.  There, I’ve said it.  They’ve been hard.  I haven’t really had disposable income to enjoy the lifestyle I became accustomed to when living with my parents.  Some nights are incredibly lonely.  My friends are around, but for the most part, they don’t really understand just how difficult this transition is for me.  I’ve spent a great deal crying myself to sleep at night, but yet, I have wanted for nothing.  All my needs have been taken care of.  God has kept His promise to supply all my needs according to His Glory in Christ Jesus.  So, as hard as it is, I’m trying to stay focused.  Last night though, when we sang this song, the floodgates opened because Valerie, my colleague, told me that this is a process I have to go through; that God is moulding me for bigger, better things.  He has taken me from the miry clay and He is moulding me into an even more beautiful pearl for His Crown.

I’m reading William Paul Young’s Crossroads and my word, I sometimes feel that the book was written specifically for me.  Sometimes I will read only a small excerpt, but there will be such a powerful message in there that I get goosebumps. I keep telling myself that I must invest in post-it notes so that I can just mark the messages.  I WILL have to make a plan after work today.  

On Saturday I attended an amazing ladies’ tea where the message was about women being the pearls in God’s Crown, and what a timely process it is for a pearl to be formed.  Again, “You’ve taken me from the miry clay…set my feet upon a rock…”  I left that tea feeling… for lack of a more descriptive phrase, specially chosen.  

Not really wanting to go straight to bed after church, I asked Andrea (a friend from Herbalife) if she felt like coffee and within minutes she was at my flat.  We chatted about what happened in the week and I told her about the tea and other happenings.  Normally I wouldn’t really discuss religious/spiritual issues with people whom I am just getting to know, but I feel a strange kinship towards Andrea.  She seems to just “get me”, more than some of my life long friends do.  Her advise was to remember that I am never alone and that nothing ever happens without reason.  Sure, it may not be clear right now, but in hindsight, everything makes sense.

Now, to the title of this post…Brain Itch… for those of you who don’t know what a brain itch is – it is a song that is stuck in your head that no matter how many times you’ve sung the words, you just cannot get it out of your head.  Guess what’s stuck in my head right now?  Your Song by Elton John. I’m not sure why, but I hope it is saved on my netbook so that I can just listen to it to get it out of my head…

Wishing you all an amazing week, filled with blessings, love and hope.

 

 

 

Getting It Off My Chest…

I am not sure where this post is going to go, but I feel this incredible urge to write because I feel that, if I don’t, I am going to have to decapitate myself, simply to silence the voices in my head that are, once again, at loggerheads with one another.

A number of people who I have grown to know over a period of time have said that my biggest asset is my personality – that there is something that they can’t quite pin point in the way I act towards others, that draws people to me.  Little do they know that I feel it is not my personality that draws people to me, but rather my need for validation and recognition (the fact that I’m vulnerable) that draws me to people.    A simple thing like receiving recognition for reaching a sales target, being told that I’m an integral cog in the machine, or being included in an event of some kind makes me feel “normal”. The other clarification is that I may be a FOMO sufferer (although I don’t think so, because I don’t spend that amount of time on social media wanting to know what other people are doing; I just want to be asked if I can be included in what they’re doing…)  I often think that being “The Piece of the Puzzle that doesn’t Quite Fit”, that my Maslow Triangle is inverted –

Image

that Self Actualisation, Esteem and Social needs are more important than the basic physiological and safety ones, although my triangle would look more like this:

Image

Valerie, a colleague, for whom I have a tremendous amount of respect, because she speaks the truth in a non-judgemental way, told me one day that the face I put to the world is a false one; that the party-loving, loud girl, is actually not who I am.  Man, did I cry that day.  Not because I was offended about being told I’m false, but because something in my heart changed.  The truth took hold.

A lot has happened since that talk with Valerie.  I’ve reassessed a lot of things and…

I’ve moved…and in three weeks of living on my own, I’ve learnt volumes about myself.  I’ve learned that I hate being on my own.  When I lived with my folks and they would go away for a few days leaving me alone, I would relish the silence – simply because there is always background noise in their house, the radio is always on in the kitchen, even though two TV’s are on.  Now that I’m on my own, the first thing I do when I get home is put on the radio, simply so that it feels as if there is another “life force” there with me.  Fortunately I have friends who know this and who will pop in for coffee or a quick chat, making the loneliness a bit easier to bear.  I’ve been told by many people that it takes getting used to, but that I will.  I’m looking forward to that day.

I’ve learned that some people will make me their friend, even though I had reservations about them when I met them initially.  While I have an incredible requirement to be accepted, I’m still inclined to be a bit choosy about who I want to accept me.  (Do you understand why the Little Voices are squabbling?) Once I’ve accepted that these people want to be part of my life, the scales fall off my eyes and with this renewed vision, I see the incredible kindness in their hearts.  To give an example, my neighbour invited me over for supper on Tuesday night.  I took over some corn on the cob and she made two lamb chops for each of us.  To some of you reading this, you’re probably thinking “Oh pu-leeze!!  This chick is getting sentimental over chops?!”  People, meat is expensive when you’re living on your own. 

I was telling Carmen the other day that I’ve made a new circle of friends through my Herbalife business.  She says that it is great because it is a circle of other people with other interests from whom I can learn something new.  She’s right too.  (Just how lucky am I to be surrounded by such wise people?)  These are people from all walks of life, who are working towards a common goal of helping people get healthy and active.  There is an indescribable camaraderie between the members of this “family” that is second to none.  It doesn’t matter how bad I’m feeling some days – after team training, or fit club with these amazing people, I feel energised and ready to carry on.  Just last night three of these people came to have a cup of coffee in my humble abode.  Just talking to them and hearing how they do things has motivated me to get back on the horse and keep trotting on.  There is a wealth of knowledge readily available through this “family”, not just about Herbalife, but about life as it happens.  (MTM is making a mental note to thank Steve for persisting to get me signed up…)

On a lighter note, I’ve learned that despite vehement denial, I am a lot shorter than I like to think I am.  The work surface in my flat is correct according to all ergonomic parameters, but the stove is a mobile one, which is substantially higher than a normal hob.  This is how I have been cooking for a while. 

Image

Yes, I’m standing on a chair so that I can see what is cooking in the pots.  This will soon be a problem of the past as mom and dad have lent me their little induction cooker, which is flat on the work surface.  If I really want to bake, then I will use the little oven, because the way it stands now, it is at least at eye level.  Aunty Carol and Uncle Barry have also graciously donated a George Foreman grill to me, so once I receive it, I will be able to grill at an ergonomic level too!

There, now I feel slightly better, having got it out…the Voices are no longer shouting at one another, they’re hissing in whispers…