Saturday, 29 December 2012


Another year is almost done, it rushed past in such a flurry.  What hopes and dreams did we not have for it?  Plans that this year we will do this or that.  This year would be the perfect year, this year I will get it just right.  This year I will be perfect.  Noble and high ideals, but chances are, we did not get it all right, plans did not work out as we hoped, we had to adapt, change course, take a different route.  We might look back at the year and feel like a failure, because once again my dream only gathered dust, yet again I had to accept something less than perfect.  If you feel like that, then this is just for you, just for me.  Life is after all what happens when we make other plans.  Life is not perfect, in fact, it is seriously flawed, but it is exactly in that flawed state where we find such wonders, such inspiration and excitement.  It is the eternal hope that life can indeed be better, more perfect, that keeps as going, that help us to reach out to our dreams.
The world that we live in has us believe that only perfection is good enough, only the flawless is beautiful, and only precision is acceptable.  Wonderful ideals, but the reality is simply this, nothing in life is ever absolutely perfect and as long as that is our measuring tool we will always fall short, be disappointed and deflated.  It is time that we look past our ideas of perfection and enjoy all of life with its imperfections and flaws.  Instead of looking at what you did not get right, look at what you did achieve.  Instead of moping about what you did not get done, celebrate the process of trying.  Instead of being bitter about what you did not receive, count the unexpected blessings that came your way.
We get so bogged down in our quest for perfection that we do not notice the whispered blessings of soft rain on a wedding day, we miss out on the giving heart of a simple man, we walk past the beggar not caring about his beautiful smile wishing us a "Merry Christmas".  We are so intolerant of everything less than perfection that we immediately start to change the people in our lives to be acceptable to us, according to our standards, our "perfect" ways.
My wish for this new year is that we will all start noticing the perfection in the imperfectness all around us, it is okay to love somebody with flaws, to aim for the stars and be slightly off target.  It's okay to cry, to feel hurt, to sometimes throw your toys out of the cot.  It is really okay to err, life carries on, and if we are blessed we get another change to try.  The only way we can avoid making mistakes is by doing nothing and what a waste such a life would be......

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Thursday, 20 December 2012

ABC of Living

Cleaning out my daughter's room in order to make way for the new double bed for the newly weds I came across a notebook of hers in which she wrote "Mommy's ABC of Principles to Live By" and I thought I'll share them here with you.
A - Always Smile
B - Be kind and mild
C - Count your blessings
D - Depend on the Lord
E - Enjoy Life!
F - Friendliness spreads sunshine
G - Give with gladness
H - Have a Happy Heart, and an honest one
I - In everything rejoice; value integrity
J - Join hands with the needy
K - Keep your faith strong
L - Let your light shine; be loyal
M - Make eye-contact and smile
N- Now is the best time to do!
O - Openly praise the Lord
P - Positive attitudes brightens any day
R - Remember every good, special time
S - Stay humble
T - Trust the Lord
U - Unity of the family is a treasure
V - Vows are sacred
W - Willingness creates an open mind.
X - Go the eXtra mile
Y - Your yes, YES, your no, NO
Z - Zest, put it in everything you do

Looking at my two daughters ten years down the line I can see how they are implementing these things in their lives and I am so proud of them!

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Saturday, 8 December 2012

Sweet Grapes

I often wonder how it is that a butterfly knows exactly which flower has the sweetest nectar?  All insects seem to know that instinctively.  They always find the choicest, sweetest fruit.
All of us in our house love fruit, especially grapes, and the fruit sellers make them seem even more delicious with promises of  "sweeter than honey".  Exactly such salesman talk enticed my husband to arrive home with a whole box of delicious grapes, and although not exactly sweeter than honey, they were mostly quite nice.  However, every now and then you would bite into a particularly sour one that would make your toenails curl up and clench your jaw muscles in a tetanus grip. 
This made me think about life and what Forest Gump's mother told him, "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get". To me life is like a bunch of grapes.  Most days are sweet and juicy, full of lovely fresh goodness.  Unfortunately some days are sour, testing our perseverance, trying our patience.  Some days leave us with a bitter taste in the mouth.  Some days make us want to declare that we never want to eat grapes ever again. 
Yet it is that sweet tasting grape that let us reach for the next one, and the next.  It is exactly that sour one that makes us appreciate the sweet grapes all the more.  It keeps life interesting and exciting.  It keeps us grateful.  Every single grape, sweet or sour, is needed to make that special bottle of wine.  Every experience, every success or disappointment, shapes us into the people we are, giving every one of us our unique character. 
It is not the even easy and level road that build and strengthen our muscles, no, it is the uphills and uneven terrain that develop our perserverance and stamina, strengthening us.  It builds our character and shapes us.
My wish for you today is this - may you enjoy your bunch of grapes, and may the sour ones be few!

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Tuesday, 4 December 2012

More Than a Label

On Saturday it was my daughter's wedding.  What a wonderful occasion it was!!  It was so lovely to have all the family together for such a joyous event!  Equally nice was meeting the other side of the family and soon everyone was talking,swapping stories and getting to know one another.  While making new acquaintances I was struck by one thing in particular.  It was a question I heard repeatedly:  "What do you do?"  The answers varied greatly from "I am a housewife" to " I am a teacher" to "I am a financial adviser" and everything else in between.  A single label, and never once was the answer queried, or the person asked to elaborate.
This made me realise how easily we attach and accept labels.  Since a young age this brought out the rebel in me, as at the very least I am a mixed fruit jam, a muesli cereal, a rainbow coloured writing pad, an omnibus, a buffet.  No single label for me and certainly not for the next person either.  I hated labels and I absolutely still do.  Yet, that is exactly what we as people do.  We conveniently label people, pack them into little compartments and let them just dare to break free from that perfect little niche we have placed them in.  Conveniently we sort the "bad " ones with the baddies and the "good" ones with the goodies, the adulterers with the vow breakers, the divorcees with the failures, and the gays with the arty's. We feel comfortable knowing where who fits in.  That way it is easy to avoid those that don't fit in with what we view as the norm.
This system we have of labelling makes me want to scream.  The label " Teacher " after all, is only the title of the work Anne is doing, it tells me nothing about her passion for scuba diving.  John, an accountant, is much more than a number cruncher, he spends his week-ends painting beautiful murals for the children's ward at the state hospital and Betty, the housewife, is an interior decorator, chef and psychologist to three teenagers.
Then of course there are the other labels.  Those that are whispered about behind hands and glassy smiles - oh, Marc is that banker that embezzled all that money... did u know Susan got fired.... Dan has an eye for the ladies....poor Bob and Mary, their daughter is pregnant, she'll never amount to much now.....hmmm, Lydia had an affair..... the woman in the green dress is Professor Smith's wife........on and on the labelling goes.  Yet, Marc is much more than his "sin", Susan much more than a woman who lost her job, the woman in the green dress so much more than her husband's profession, but sadly, few people are  interested or really care to look beyond the label.  No-one bothers to read the fine print and few people take notice of the ingredients.  We are often so easily fooled by the glamorous images, the colourful graphics on the outside that we don't care to look beyond the labels.
It is also not just other people who label us, no, we are quite eager to label ourselves.  We are often our worst critics and attach the unfairest labels to ourselves.  "Failure", "Stupid", "Inadequate", "Ugly", "Loser" to name but a few, and so we live up (or should I say down) to these expectations we have labelled ourselves with. 
I remember walking into a farm stall last year during our annual vacation.  On the shelf there was a variety of homemade jams and condiments.  I noticed one bottle in particular.  It had a label that read "Tastes Like Nothing You've Tasted Before".  What a perfect label.  We should all rip off our labels and replace it with one like that, because each one of us is unique, there is no-one else like us, has never been, nor will there be again......

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