Life, Love, and Passports

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We shall overcome!

Today was class assembly day for Year 3 and they did the most moving assembly on Martin Luther King. It was great to see 7 and 8 year olds speaking with such conviction. Did they realise how fortunate they were to have the social freedoms that people in Alabama were denied? They sang Michael Jacksons ‘Black and White’ with gusto and believed that it didn’t matter what colour you were. Such innocence, such belief, such hope and with sheer abandonment too.

As MLKs birthday approaches many will reflect on and recite his historic speech. It will mean everything to some and absolutely nothing to others. Every generation needs somebody who’ll take the bull by the horns and instil a sense of belief about the possibility of achieving the impossible. A massive shout out to all who took the challenge and those who continue to take the challenge. We owe them so much. Fighting tirelessly for our freedoms – political, social, religious and even education.

I sat in that assembly and couldn’t help but think of South Africa. We’ve come so far as a nation and we’ve got far to go. It’s not perfect but it is home. The struggle continues at home and abroad. I’m proud to be a South African and though I’m thousands of miles from home I’m as patriotic as I could ever be.
I too have a dream for my children and my children’s children. I know that nothing is impossible and we’re working to keep the dream alive!

We shall overcome.


For the love of food

This week the girls went back to school and were very excited for their healthy eating topic. The problem with school going kids (particularly in the formative stage) is that whatever the teacher says becomes law. We were going to do this whether or not we wanted to.
We took up the challenge as a family and decided we’d use this week to experiment and possibly make some permanent changes.

I am not the kind of parent who spends hours researching all the demonic elements in food like E numbers and possible GM foods. If I’m not certain I check but it’s no obsession. There are some definite no go areas and am proudest of convincing the girls that McDonald’s is not for them.

We headed to the shops and the challenge was simple no processed food. It was not easy!
We stocked up on fruit and vegetables our house now resembles a green grocer. For those organic fanatics I’m afraid it wasn’t all organic. I settle for organic if it’s cheaper – that’ll be the cherry tomatoes, cucumber and potatoes. Unless it’s grown in my father’s garden I’m not convinced.

What’s with all the apple choices? Growing up in South Africa it was Granny Smith, Gala and Golden delicious. Quite simply green, red or yellow apples. I’m faced with a choice of Gala (the only choice in my opinion), Braeburn, Pink Lady and so many more. Do we really need all these choices?
I love that the country of origin is always displayed. There is no competition on the shelves for South African grapes, butternut squash, cherries and navel oranges. They win hands down.

It’s been an interesting week to say the least, almost everything has been made from scratch. From my husbands amazing hollandaise sauce to my scrummy oat and fruit bars. We’ve experimented with cauliflower rice and introduced new tastes to our girls.
It’s gone better than we thought and I’ve loved planning meals with the children.

Happy New Year

I guess today is a day of clever quotes, anecdotes, heartfelt sentiments and more loaded declarations.

Happy New Year to you and yours. I hope 2015 is all that you dream of and have planned.
Learn from your mistakes, forgive others, forgive yourself and be true to yourself.

I’m looking forward to a year of changes and I’ll try to remember that things will always change of that I can be sure!

May 2015 be the year you realise your full potential and be everything you’re destined to be.

The joy of anticipation

So it’s happened! It’s finally Christmas Eve. Interesting to be in the stores watching people buy food like we’re going into lockdown for a week. Different faces, different stories but all caught up in a festive wave.

My daughters are so full of expectancy having seen their gifts under the Christmas tree. I love the guessing games. Whose gift is the largest, smallest and even the best. Of course they’ll have no idea until the time is right. For now each of their gifts are just lying in wait without a name, just a secret code that I’ve devised for each of them. I’ll eventually tag them and the anticipation will swell.

Tomorrow will be a day of celebration. It’s a time we’ll remember that our Saviour was born. A time for family and friends to show appreciation by giving gifts and more importantly spending precious time together. There is no gift as beautiful as the gift of family and friendship.

I wish you and yours love, joy, peace and happiness at this awesome time of year.
Merry Christmas!

Love hurts

I know, I know! If it’s love it shouldn’t hurt. On the contrary I’ve found in my experience that being selfish and concerned with self preservation will bring about some discomfort when you place your heart in somebody else’s hands. People are strange creatures you see we can go from extreme selflessness to absolute hatred in a short spell. That’s the power of our emotions.

When you share your soul with someone you really go out on a limb. All the pinky promises, your secrets safe with me and my lips are sealed are well and good when times are great. What happens in tough times? Lips are quickly unsealed and secrets are laid bare.
It takes a mature individual to be able to hold their tongue when they know their words could silence their opponent.

Being married for almost fifteen years (still can’t believe how the time has flown!) I’ve learnt so much not just about my husband but about myself too.
I often tell people that our first year of marriage was tough for me and in retrospect I realise it had much to do with trust and words.

If you’ve ever been let down then it becomes a full time job guarding your heart.
Speak less and you have less to apologise for! This was the biggest lesson in those early days. Though I’d learnt this lesson quite early I still continued and to a certain degree still continue to fail this task. It’s no secret I have a big mouth and too many opinions but I’m not perfect and I’m on a journey.

If you love someone keep your words short and sweet because as you know you may have to eat them!

No man is an island

Humans can be such hard work. Can’t live with them can’t live without them. Dealing with people brings frustration, disappointment, hurt and lots of irritation.
On the flip side you cannot measure the value of support, love and understanding from people. To co exist means being able to handle what people bring to your life either by design or by default.

By nature I’m the kind of person who loves to have a say about most things perhaps all things is a more accurate assessment. This week I’ve learnt that it’s not always necessary to speak to be heard. My mother says words are like feathers once they’re out there it’s virtually impossible to collect them all. I’ve used my two week quota of opinion in about three days!

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not perfect but I realised I’ve been expecting perfection from others.
As this week ends I’m so excited to be home all day to just relax and find a calm and restful state of mind.
No man is an island but time alone to evaluate your life is always time worth spent…alone!

Blind Faith

Whilst sitting in the dentists chair a week ago I came to the realisation that I had absolutely no idea if she was qualified to do her job. I bet she is but I’ve not a shred of evidence to support that. Not even a certificate on a wall.
It seems ridiculous now that I’m sharing it but have you ever asked your dentist / doctor or any other professional about their qualifications? I can just imagine my dentist suggesting I need this, that and the other done and if all of this goes wrong…no teeth! That is a really scary thought.

I’m going to blame this slight paranoia on some of the stuff I’ve been watching on telly. Just give it a thought if you would getting on a flight or simply seeing a hair stylist. Questioning the pilot may prove to be difficult. It’s quite frightening if you give it too much thought. I’ll definitely be asking some informal questions especially if it’s a new service being undertaken.

Perhaps this information should be readily available if you feel the need to know. I obviously feel the need to know!

‘That’ Parent

Who would’ve thought those two words could conjure up such a need to defend your actions.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no expert in all that needs to known. I guess that goes without saying. Like my children I learn something new almost everyday. After all that’s life isn’t it? One long learning journey.

Whilst at an activity with my girls I expressed my concern to a fellow parent about the progress of my daughter and suggested that she may be ahead of her peers and could do with more of a challenge. The words had barely left my tongue and I regretted saying them mainly because I didn’t want to be judged. Fortunately she was understanding and suggested I speak to the person in charge. I thanked her but as I walked away she said “just be careful how you word it you don’t want to be seen as ‘that’ parent”. I literally froze and wondered if it was the right move because the last thing I’d want is for my child to be a target.

On returning home I had to do some serious introspection. Was I ‘that’ parent? If by ‘that’ parent you mean the one who wants the best for her children by challenging choices and making difficult decisions which benefit my child’s progress then please stick a tag on me. Is that the impression others will have of me? I’m not sure but at this moment in time all I can do is go with my gut feeling.

I thought about the parents who I’ve labelled. Maybe like me they want the best for their children too. On the other hand I’m sure there’s a very fine line between being concerned and being a know it all. Guess it’s finding that balance and having the right attitude when you think things could be done differently…or better.

Oh the joys of parenting. The longest on the job training if ever there was one!

Most wonderful time of the year

The Christmas season is well and truly in full swing. The girls are still at school so the daily grind means no late mornings drinking hot chocolate watching the lights flicker on the tree. I can’t wait!
If I had a pound for every time people asked if I was ready for Christmas I’d buy a massive reindeer and put it on our roof.

Without sounding like the grinch I’m not exactly sure what preparation is needed. Are people referring to turkey or gifts? I don’t eat turkey so must be the gifts. If I have the gifts does that mean I can celebrate already.

The girls have been very sensible with their requests which is rather refreshing. We may splash out on a little more than a diary and batteries for a camcorder. It seems apparent that we think kids want expensive and popular gifts when really all they want are things with practical use.
Christmas is a time for families, sharing and showing love. Well that’s what I think anyway.

“The best gift around the Christmas tree is the presence of family wrapped in love”

State of mind

Mental illness has always been something that has both fascinated and scared me. Having trained as a psychiatric / mental health nurse a lot of the mystery was uncovered. In hindsight I do feel like it was such a massive responsibility on such young people!
While watching an episode of Homeland I was disturbed by a scene of a person with a mental health issue having their medicines tampered with and people waiting around for her to have a psychotic episode. Would they do this to a diabetic or somebody with a cardiac problem? I don’t think so. It’s always the mental health issues that seem to be a free for all.

I’ll be the first to admit that I often label people as psychotic, delusional, bipolar or generally mentally unstable. This is so wrong because it minimises the severity of these conditions.
People often label themselves with mental conditions the most popular being ‘I’m so depressed’ Depression is a clinical diagnosis and has nothing to do with feeling down.

There’s still far too much ignorance around as far as mental illness goes. Like other medical conditions early intervention and treatment is the way to go. There are many individuals on treatment and leading a stable life. There is help available and we should let people facing difficulties know this.

People affected need support not criticism. Be the kind of person a friend would feel safe discussing not just handbags and shoes with but also issues that affect their mental state.
I know it was just a program but it was meant to entertain and that is worrying!