Well the Olympic torch relay finally arrives in Birmingham today. No doubt people will be out in their numbers to celebrate a very special occasion. We’ll watch the procession from probably one of the best spots in the city – the rooftop of our local church.
Prior to the torch passing there’ll be a BBQ (can I just say that the world could learn a thing or two about the traditional south African braai!).
The choir will provide the entertainment while we wait for Sir Cliff Richard to make his way past our viewing point. I’m secretly hoping for a last-minute replacement by Peter André.
There’s now less than a month to go to the Olympics and Birmingham are the official host city for the Jamaican and American athletes.
Bring on the games!
Funny how our parents always warned us about choosing friends wisely particularly during adolescence. My mother always said choose friends who have a vision for their future and are not just caught up in the moment. I must admit it was a tough to imagine that anything else mattered than being popular. So some thirty years later I can see what she meant. Popularity can only get you so far but planning for your future is always going to benefit you.
Sadly for some people the need to be popular and centre of attention never grows old. There is nothing worse than an adolescent attention seeking adult. You just want to shout ‘Can you grow up already!’ Of late I’ve been seeing the need to limit my interaction with these kind of individuals because no matter what you say it always ends up being about them. I refuse to be absorbed into somebody else’s little world. My life is way too busy raising my daughters to be caught up with people who have no desire to evolve.
The time has come for me to walk away from troublemakers, bullies and self seeking individuals. It seems choosing friends is a lifelong challenge. Thankfully for the most part I’ve made relatively good decisions. Friendship doesn’t have a recipe for instant success but I’m certain it shouldn’t take a lifetime to develop lasting and rewarding ones. I’m so grateful for all the amazing people in my life!
Whilst doing my usual sweep of twitter I found the following topic trending: #ICantDateYou. It’s always interesting to hear and read peoples expectations of potential life partners. There was an extensive list but here are a few random reasons!
1. If you have no sense of humour
2. If you don’t smell good
3. If you’re a pot head
4. If I can’t be myself around you
5. If you believe in horoscopes
6. If you don’t respect your mom
7. If everytime you get mad you want to break up with me
8.If you try to change me
9. If you care about appearances too much
10. If you have no goals in life, no education, no job, no car, no desire to progress and better yourself
I think it is good to have expectations but it would do us all a world of good if we looked at ourselves and took stock of the things we can change about ourselves not to please somebody else or pretend to be something we’re not! Some facets of a persons life just require a special someone to come alongside and add magic to hidden potential!
Whenever I see fresh flowers I always think of my mother who absolutely loves a floral arrangement. I was never really one to make sure that I had a fresh vase of flowers but since arriving in the Uk I am hardly ever without them.
Every home should have at least one vase of fresh flowers and yes they do eventually die but the joy they bring outweighs their lack of longevity.
Flowers are given and recieved for many occasions and rightfully so. I do enjoy choosing and arranging flowers of my choice but nothing beats the moment you answer the door and the delivery guy has a floral treat just for you. It’s weird because I always feel compelled to thank him as if it was his idea. Diamonds may be a girls best friend but flowers are a language of their own.
Say how you feel with flowers because there is no way to describe the comfort and joy a flower can bring!
A problem shared is a problem halved! I’m definitely not the type of person who goes around sharing my deepest fears and feelings with anybody who looks remotely interested. Today I was privileged to share a piece of my life with somebody who has become a good friend to me. We shared, we laughed and now we move on!
Friends are a rare gift…treasure them!
Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary. I just can’t believe how quickly the years have gone by. Though I must admit in the tough times it seemed like a life sentence in solitary confinement.
After all marriage is a bit like a prison sentence. Love being the crime. Sometimes it’s premeditated and other times it’s just a crime of opportunity.
Being selfless is one of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt from being married. You cannot be selfish and claim to love somebody it just doesn’t add up. The art of negotiation quickly became my life line and these days getting along does seem to be getting easier!
Marriage is a beautiful gift and needs to be cherished and nurtured!
Always interesting to hear children’s dreams for the future. Even better when parents can recognise talent and do everything they can to help them pursue the dream. Better still is when the difference between a dream and a reality is clearly defined. Dreaming of being a formula one racing car driver and suffering from motion sickness as well as being afraid of speed may not be a good choice for that child!
My daughter recently told me she wanted to be a window cleaner or a veterinary surgeon. I had to explain to her that while having clean windows is great I imagine after a while it gets really predictable. It’s still early days but I really would like all three of my girls to dream big and to keep the dream alive until the time approaches that they have to make those very important choices in life.
So for now I will encourage them to reach for the brightest stars!
It’s not often that I long to be with my South African family as I have the last day or two. I do think of them daily and hope they think of me. I’m so glad that I have the added advantage of technology because I’m not sure I could handle watching the post box for news from ‘home’.
Time is one of the biggest mysteries for me. When you’re in pain or waiting for a grand occasion the time seems to move at a snail’s pace. A year ago we were blessed to have all the family visit and I swear those two weeks felt like two days. I look forward to being reunited with them and I’ve promised myself that I’ll sleep if it’s absolutely necessary because every minute counts when you’re with the ones you love.
If you’re fortunate enough to live close to family why don’t you pop in and enjoy each others company. I know that’s what I’d be doing if I was close enough. Everything happens for a reason and right now I’m just trying to see the bigger picture!
This post is in honour of a young South african Bianca Couch who has been missing since 20 December 2011.
Wherever you are whatever circumstances you find yourself in just know that you have people praying for and missing you terribly. Six months are a lifetime to a family who just keeps looking out the window waiting to hear your footsteps and your voice.
Today I was feeling really sorry for myself and absolutely hating that I’m so far from my parents then I immediately thought of you and while I was grateful to have the choice of picking up the phone and just saying hello. Somebody has taken that right away from you and I look forward to the day when I hear that you are home where you belong!
There are staggering statistics for missing people around the world. You’re not just a number in a database you are somebody’s daughter, sister and friend. Don’t give up Bianca you will never be forgotten!
Today my girls had their first lesson in African drumming and I must admit their enthusiasm or rather a lack of it was slightly disappointing. Gemma did ask if she could change her mind and my response was a bit threatening I might say. I gave her a mini talk about taking every opportunity she can and how she should be grateful for the opportunity to try new things. I felt pretty rotten as the day went by and have decided to give her the choice of dropping out. After all fun shouldn’t be stressful!
As parents we have officially entered the phase in our girls lives where we get to decide certain things for them. The difficulty now is deciding what is necessary for their personal growth and just how far to push them. The violin has become a bit of a sore point at the moment. It started off with lots of enthusiasm and no skill. Then some skill and a lack of practice. We thought we’d reached the plain sailing part with daily practices and the mastering of pieces. Sadly the last two weeks have been filled with tears, tantrums and threats. My husband and I have decided that there will be no bail out on this one. This is the activity that will eventually teach my dear little six-year-old the importance of perseverance and never giving up even when things get tough.
I’ve been looking at all the activities available for our girls I’ve had to be sober about getting them involved in every activity available. After all I can’t expect them to do the activities they are interested in and the ones I wish I’d had the opportunity to participate in.
Here’s to their future let’s see how it all plays out!
Just in case you don’t know this by now I am a documentary fan. I particularly enjoy the ones that tell stories of courage and achieving against all odds!
Last night I watched an account of a young girl who sustained 90% burns after the room she was sleeping in went up in flames when her mother left a cigarette burning a hole on the bedside table. Terri was just 22 months old at the time of the incident. Having worked in a hospital I’ve seen some horrendous burns and you feel quite helpless when you hear the moans and groans of pain and discomfort.
It was against all odds that Terri who is now 15 years old fought just to survive. Her mother couldn’t handle the guilt of what had happened to her precious little daughter and parted ways with her family. Fortunately for Terri she had a dad who was willing to do all he could to give her the best life possible. He left his job to be with her every step of the way. The bond they share is just so amazing and his daughter can’t stop heaping praise on him.
Ironically we’ve just had fathers day and I read many negative statements about dads who just go on their way without any concern for the welfare of their children. We seem to forget there are also single fathers raising their kids and doing an exceptional job. Fathers like Terri’s dad who take on a nurturing role and excel against the odds.
Happy father’s day to all the amazing dads on your special day. If you have a dad who is never too busy to care or listen to your hopes and dreams but also your failures and heartache you are blessed. Today my dad is many miles away and I do wish I was there for his special day when he is showered with more love and appreciation than usual. I have no doubt my siblings will do a great job!
If you do have a dad who is always too busy to care my advice is to give him time to change but in the meanwhile shower him with love and appreciation. They say a leopard doesn’t change his spots fortunately people do change. When he does you will be glad you believed in him.
Today many will remember their dads who are no longer in this world. Some will look back with regret and wish they would’ve said ‘I love you’ and given more hugs and praise. Sadly it’s too late now because that is the nature of this life we live in once you’re gone all that remains are memories.
Happy father’s day to all the super dads who do their best!
So yesterday I made my way back to the food bank after quite a long break. It was an extremely busy shift which was further complicated when a support agency worker who visited for the first time had her car window smashed and her intern (second day on the job!) had her handbag stolen during the incident! I must admit at that moment all the emotions I felt when my car was stolen with my bag safely placed in the boot came flooding back and that incident was in 2004!
I remembered how clear thinking individuals came to my rescue instructing me on what to do to ensure the further safety of my belongings. If you’ve lived through this type of incident then you know the avalanche of questions you ask yourself. Should have or shouldn’t haves top the list and you just wish you could do things differently. After the shock comes the anger and absolute disbelief that people can be so callous and uncaring. While you remain eternally grateful that you were not physically harmed being told that everything is replaceable does nothing at the time to comfort you. For a while after the incident there’s a kind of fear that attempts to paralyse you and you fear repercussions from the perpetrators who have your details. In time you do find peace and fight to win your freedom of movement back.
After many calls, texts, emails and form-filling you have all your personal effects replaced. In the case of the young girl yesterday she felt like her life had been stolen and I could identify with how she felt after all you never imagine that you will be a target. It was a painful reminder that we live in a fallen world and we have to think like criminals to beat them at their game. It is terrible when bad things happen to good people BUT evil will never triumph even when it seems it has won!
Don’t you just love those conversations that start with openers like “I don’t want to brag or anything” followed by the biggest brag session! The opener we all love to hate “I’m not saying I know everything but I do have knowledge of most things.” Where do you take the conversation to from there?
I recently found myself in a conversation with an acquaintance as we sometimes do and from the outset I had no doubt that she had turned me into a student in her lessons of life. I was bombarded with facts and lots of opinion. While I was preparing my answer and deciding in my little head whether I should engage with her. I quickly realised she was trying to prove how much she actually knew in comparison to me. Well what she thought she knew anyway. It was in those seconds I decided to let her live out her dream of sharing her superior life experience with every living creature she meets.
This was my very intellectual response because when somebody has chosen to be your adviser the least you can do is engage them. In that moment I looked at her and thought “you are not going to spin me in your web.” I started nodding, smiling and giving the occasional ‘mmm’ which actually meant you’re so clever why don’t you just go on speaking to yourself while I compile a shopping list in my head.
As someone who tends to speak far too much I am always aware of the person I’m having the conversation with and unless they ask for advice I don’t give any. If they do ask and I’m clueless I say so. Sometimes all that’s required of you is to listen to the person and offer heartfelt support.
A conversation is a two way game and it just shows you care for the person you’re engaging with when you allow them to express themselves.
Will you listen today?
At the start of half term I got my girls a Disney sing along cd. Again it was one of those scenarios where after hearing it for ten days straight in the car I was starting to regret the purchase. Having said that I just don’t tire of hearing the romantic rhymes and tales of dreams coming true!
I love listening to my little princesses singing along and I’m filled with hope for the future knowing that whatever path they choose it can become a reality. Dreams do come true. My job is to create an environment where dreams are born and nurtured until they become a reality.
We got no troubles
Life is the bubbles
After yet another visit to my dentist I just couldn’t help but feel totally let down by my gnashers. While it is recommended you visit your dentist once every six months I’ve taken it to another level by visiting mine at least once a month. When visiting the dentist it’s not like you can socialise with them. They greet you followed by a few questions then politely ask you to sit in the ‘chair of pain’. This is followed by a series of instructions and ends with the compulsory mouthwash. While you rinse your newly assaulted mouth the receptionists announces “Doctor your next patient is ready”.
From the day you’re born it really is just one milestone after the other and having your first tooth is a definite highlight. Then of course when you lose them one by one and look like something out of a horror movie but best of all you learn the importance of the tooth fairy. Finally the permanent teeth make an appearance and they are always way too big for your mouth. It is crazy to think that you’re now expected to keep them for the rest of your life. Like people and personalities teeth come in different shapes and sizes.
At this stage in my life I would gladly give my back teeth to be problem free. Sadly these are mine to keep and I have no doubt it could be much worse. So here’s to brushing, flossing, scaling, polishing and whatever else is thrown my way.
Today England take on the French at the Euro 2012 competition. I would not want to be a player in the English football team. So much is expected from a team who rarely delivers anything at all. With a new coach leading the team at least it provides another option in terms of a scapegoat when things go wrong and I suspect it will go wrong against a well oiled French machine.
So across the country today there are people who are extremely hopeful and others resigning themselves to the fact that their team isn’t as outstanding as the rest of the world are led to believe. It’s time to realise that the talent in the English premier league are not really English at all.
After their disastrous display in south Africa for the 2010 world cup the team have lots of impressing to do. There are just a few hours to go now before kick off and already tales about the extreme temperature being a problem are surfacing. I say “man up England” after all every team is taking it in their stride.
I guess there’s nothing more to be said now except to wait and see. Perhaps it’s a case of reversed psychology on England’s part to lull the French into a false superiority. I suspect it will take a lot more than mind games.
I read a report of a well known pastor Creflo Dollar who was arrested for allegedly assaulting his 15 year old daughter. While I do think it’s a matter between him and his family I’ve mainly been amazed by the comments made about him.
When we make mistakes we always expect forgiveness because after all we’re just human. I can’t understand why this mentality doesn’t seem to extend to particularly influential or should I say world renown preachers. Is it we who in fact place them on pedestals and expect them not to fall? They are just messengers and spokesmen for God they are not God.
I’m in no way undermining the responsibility that spiritual leaders have and the need for them to be an example of Christ as His ambassador but to question their calling when they fail along the way is completely out of line in my opinion. Accountability and responsibility to those they lead and Him who they represent is the key.
So while this mere man with feet of clay like the human he really is may have made a poor judgement call. I would suggest the public leave it in the hands of the law to decide the final outcome.
We all make mistakes and fall way short of perfection. If you’re an exception and perfect in every way then please go ahead and criticise him all you want!
My girls have been on their half term break and I took them for a long overdue haircut. Funny how the same event can have two very different results. One is extremely happy with the outcome and the other is blaming me for the drastic change. My response is that it will all grow back…eventually!
Just before the close of term I received a letter from the school informing me that a child in my daughters class has been found to have lice. Now I don’t know what it is about reading or hearing about lice that gives you the urge to just scratch your now itchy head. Personally I don’t understand what the purpose of the letter is because I found myself looking at the class photo and trying to figure out who it could possibly be. That is just wrong on so many levels.
I read the letter to both my daughters and went through every inch of their heads. The problem with lice they are opportunistic unwanted guests. There is no sure way to prevent them because it seems they are no respecter of persons. So whether you’re clean, dirty, rich or poor those dirty little parasites and their large stubborn families will not stop from making a home in your head!
So yes there you have it I’m off to do one last check before they head on back to school. Here’s hoping for a parasite free six weeks.
In case you’re wondering this is a severe case of regret usually following the purchase of a questionable item of clothing, toys and even foodstuff. That moment when you make the choice and can’t go back on your word because a promise is a promise!
This week we bought our 3-year-old a pushchair for her doll she has shown nothing but gratitude for her latest toy. She kept asking if she could take it to the mall and I agreed reluctantly. Today was that day and I regretted taking it the moment we got into the mall. The novelty wore off sooner than I thought and I couldn’t keep count of the threats I made. Well they weren’t threats the truth is it will never see the mall again on my watch.
There are several other items that we’ve purchased that have left us shaking our heads. Umbrellas and anything battery operated have brought us to the brink of despair. Tinkerbell wings, wands and even tiaras. I know many a parent who has complained about their child’s obsession with all things spiderman, superman and even Ben 10.
Foodstuff that does my head in are ice cream cones that just always ends badly and chewing gum is a favourite with my girls it is quite shocking to think of all the things they can do with it.
I won’t even fool myself for a minute and say I’ve learnt my lesson because that is never going to happen. Guess I’ll spend the rest of their childhood collecting items that drive me insane!
Last night I decided to treat myself to a late night movie. While scrolling through my options my only requirements were short movies and no rom coms. I decided on a gridiron drama. Somehow I missed the moving drama part and it wasn’t long before I was in complete meltdown. It has been for quite some time now that I’ve realised that I’m turning into my mother who absolutely throws herself into these gut wrenching movies. I do suspect that it has something to do with being a mother myself.
The movie is based on a true story. After the untimely death of their 15-year-old son following a car crash a couple are faced with the choice of giving up his organs. I imagine they took more than five minutes portrayed in the movie to make that decision. I kept thinking how brave they were to make such a rather difficult decision.
Recently my husband and I had to exchange our South African drivers licence for a British version and when his documents arrived I noticed that he’d signed up to be an organ donor and I was horrified.
While I know we will have no need for our organs in the grave I would like the chance to at least choose the recipient and know my valuable parts are not wasted on an undeserving person. I know that everybody should have the chance for the best life possible. If every person willingly donated organs perhaps there’d be fewer victims being trafficked for their organs particularly kidneys. This injustice is being experienced across the world.
I have met and know of individuals who’ve donated and have been recipients of organ donations. I have no doubt that donating organs makes a huge difference not just to the recipient but to their families as well. After watching the movie and seeing how one families selfless act helped give five people a fighting chance I must admit I’ve been challenged about the possibility of being that difference.
Who knows my heart might actually belong to you?
After a rather late night for my girls and I. I was really looking forward to rising way after the sun. Sadly this was not to be instead my sleep was broken by what was a full on sibling drama. For the most part I do try to be neutral but it’s almost impossible when it becomes obvious that it’s a two against one situation.
The girls couldn’t be more different and so its quite a challenge to find the right solution for the many complex challenges. For the most part I threaten them with consequences that have them adjusting their behaviour instantly. Sadly my most common action is my camera and a threat to tell their teachers. The response is almost magical.
A few hours have passed and they are getting along just fine now and the house seems like less of a war zone that is until one of them feels that they are being undermined. For the moment though I’ll enjoy the peace and their compatibility until the next misunderstanding and perhaps a simple “can we get along please girls” will be more than sufficient to get them back on track!
The pecking order is a reality and the challenge is to get them to understand that they are all very different but all very special and getting along is what makes life ‘workable’ because you can’t get your way all of the time! Though I’m sure some will differ…I call these people selfish!
Growing up we had many house rules may I say that as an adult I flout quite a few! My most obvious ones are putting my shoes on the couch (my husband always takes them off!) and drinking from the family bottle of juice (babe if you’re reading this it only happens with the last bit!). Leaving a cluttered sink overnight and hoping I don’t die and mourners coming in and finding an absolute mess. Not to worry I’ve got that covered I’ve asked my husband to explain to them it was obvious I wasn’t feeling well! Though I’d like to think they’d be too heartbroken to notice!
So now that I’m a mother and responsible for general house rules I must admit that some days I just feel like letting the rule book disappear. My girls don’t have too many rules well I guess as a parent you always feel like they can do more. I must admit I’m not really wining the rules war with my girls they are always pushing the boundaries especially when it comes to bedtime. The other night my 6 year old Charis asked why is it that I get to stay up late? Needless to say my blood started boiling and the response was so lame “because I’m the adult”. I’ve got to work on less obvious reasons.
At the moment my daughters are enjoying their half term holiday and if I let them make the rules I am pretty sure they would watch movies all day and declare bathing an unnecessary evil. That is not going to happen on my watch! So while I’m blogging away no doubt that they feel they’ve escaped some of their daily grind. Will it be so bad if I let it slide for just today but knowing my lot they will insist on a repeat tomorrow. I guess it’s called being consistent and that is something I really struggle with.
Being a parent is a responsibility you don’t get to take a break from. After all adults and children alike need rules to avoid total chaos. So I’m going to take my shoes off the bed and prepare lunch for my girls which doesn’t include a jubilee themed cupcake!