Friday, 30 January 2015

Spread your wings....and read!

This year I am sharing a few thoughts or ideas to help us live this year to the fullest, to make this a year of remarkable living.  Join me here for an astounding journey through 2015.

I love reading and I love the feel of a book in my hands.  There is something magical about opening a book and the rustling of the pages as I turn them.  I get lost in a book.  I spread my wings and fly off to far distant places!  Unfortunately, I do not have a lot of time to read and before I know it, I have a pile of  'want-to-reads' on my bedside table.  Instead of taking one of the books that might require a bit more concentration, I take a quick-read book for that half an hour before sleep overcomes me. So last night I decided to make a plan - I am going to commit to reading a chapter (at least) a day and steadily work my way through that stack.  I am aiming to finish at least 12 of them this year.  I won't bore you with my list, but I will share it with you at the end of the year  for those who are interested.
Do you have a book or two that you have been meaning to read, but for some or other reason never seem to get to it?  I uhm...happen to
know that my sister has a couple of those as well!!!  Well, maybe, by committing to a chapter a day, you (and I) might just finish one or two of those in 2015!

Remember, this is the year for you to SHINE!

Feel free to share with us what books you are planning to read this year, and if you want to post your review, please do so.  I would love to hear from you.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Just Writing to Say...

This year I am sharing some thoughts or ideas to help us live this year to the fullest, to make this a year of remarkable living.  Join me here for an astounding journey through 2015.

Technology is an amazing thing.  The advances that are being made in this field are simply mind boggling.  New technology is constantly being developed and it mostly makes our lives easier, more efficient and often faster.  However, sometimes new technology comes at the expense of something else. One such a thing is the art of letter writing, AND the joy of receiving one.  No, not an e-mail, nor a typed letter, but an honest to goodness handwritten letter.  Do you remember those beautifully printed writing blocks?  Soft lilac pages with a bouquet of roses watermarked on them or those rich, creamy, slightly textured pages, that felt exquisite under one's fingertips. My favourite papers were those fragile, onion skin ones in palest pink and green, delicately scented.  I remember the excitement I felt when the postman came past.  Would he be dropping off a letter for me, I would wonder.  Then the excitement of opening the letter addressed to me, and the surprise of pressed flowers tumbling from between the crisp pages.

So, my idea is to revive the dying art of letter writting this year.  Take the time once a week to put pen to paper and write a letter to someone.  It can be written to anybody.  You don't have to post it if you do not want to, but just write it as if you are going to post it.  Send somebody a little bit of love, a little note to say you were thinking of him or her.  Writing a letter is a beautiful way to connect with somebody.  It is an excellent way to express your feelings.

Here are some ideas of letters you can write.
1. A letter to your husband.
2. A letter to your grandchild.
3. A letter to yourself.
4. A letter to your mom / dad / parents.
5. A letter to your 10 year old self.
6. A letter to the first one who kissed you.
7. A letter to your first pet.
8. A letter to a favourite teacher.
9. A letter to your first friend in kinder garden.
10. A letter you would like to receive.

I still have a stack of letters I have received, each one still as special as when I opened it the first time.  How precious it is to read it again, long forgotten words coming alive once more, memories revived, briefly walking back into a perfectly preserved moment in time...

On the 17th of January of every year, the USA celebrates their "National Send a Handwritten Letter Day", and  the 17th of each month in 2015 will be designated as additional Send a Handwritten Letter Day, so why not join in the spirit of this?  If you can't write a letter once a week, try to do so at least once a month.

If you stop by here please share with us who you would like to surprise with a handwritten letter, I would love to hear from you.
Happy writing!!!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Thinking of My Mom Today

Today is my mom's birthday.  I wrote this poem for her.

my mother

i wake up
knowing she was there
in my dream,
i know it
in the way
the air feels still
and thick around me

i see her

in the way
my hands
grow older,
she's in my sister's face
without make-up

the cosmos

along the road
sing her song,
their faces
reflecting happiness
the way she always woke me

i want to curl up

inside her
be born again,
this time 
i'll hold her hand

© Charmaine Fourie. All rights reserved

Monday, 19 January 2015

Drink a Little Tea

Another week has passed.  Time is fleeting!!  
Remember the first thing we implemented for this year was our daily Gratitude Journal.  How is yours coming along?
Then I asked you to think about ONE thing you would like to change or do differently this year.  I think it is a bit more difficult to do than keeping a Gratitude Journal, but if you put your mind to it I know you can do it.   
Something I thought would be beneficial to implement this year is the drinking of GREEN TEA.  I recently read up about all the health benefits of drinking a cup of this beverage a day and was amazed by it.  Some of you may be doing this already.  Well done to you!

It is said that Green Tea is the healthiest beverage on the Lord's green earth.
Here are just a few of the benefits:
It is loaded with anti-oxidants, thus protecting our cells against damage.
It contains both caffeine and L-Theanine which, when combined, help to improve brain function.
Green Tea is said to boost our metabolism and energy levels.
Studies have shown that it can lower our risk of infections and viruses like the Flu.
It can also lower our risk to develop type ll diabetes, as well as reduce our risk of cardiovascular disease. 

With all these advantages, why not try to make it a daily habit.  One cup early in the morning or as a soothing beverage in the evening while watching the sunset.

You are welcome to share your thoughts about Green Tea with us here on the blog.  How do you drink it, how often and what benefits do you feel you are getting from it? I would love to hear from you!

Friday, 9 January 2015

Fear Not!!!

Today I want to talk about something most of us have experienced to some or other degree in our lives.  We are all familiar with it.  Some people openly admit it, but most of us try to deny it, few every want to face it.  It is that fiend called Fear.
Fear is defined in the dictionary as  "a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc.,whether the    threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid."

It is said that a small measure of fear in our lives is good, even beneficial, as it can prevent us from acting irresponsible and without regard for the consequences of our actions.  Yet, fear is one of mankind's most debilitating emotions.  Fear can keep us pinned down, it can destroy us.  Fear can stop us from thinking clearly and constructively.  Fear destroys our confidence, we start to doubt our own abilities and it robs us of our peace of mind.  It mostly prevents us from venturing out into life and attempting new and exciting things.  It makes us distrustful of everything and everyone around us.
Fear has a physical as well as an emotional effect on us.  It is destructive.  Therefor it is essential to break free from fear.  Sometimes, however, we are not even aware of the fact that we are experiencing fear, as fear has a habit to disguise itself as other emotions.  
Often fear wears the mask of anger.  The reason for this is that if we respond with anger, people tend not to see the fear hiding behind our angry faces, thus we protect our vulnerabilities.  These vulnerabilities might be a poor self-esteem or past hurts, it could be our insecurities or even stress.  
Fear can also wear the mask of hate.  People find it very hard to see the fear we are hiding behind our apparent hatred of something or someone.  An example could be somebody who hates going to functions.  It is not actually the function they hate, but it is their fear of not fitting in with anybody there that generates this hatred.  It hides their vulnerability, their ultimate fear of rejection away behind a convenient mask.
Another mask fear sometimes hides behind, is a mask of indifference.  We pretend not to care, we pretend not be interested in something or somebody, that way no-one would even guess that we actually fear disappointment, disillusionment or failure.
To break free of fear it is important to first of all identify the masks we hide our fear behind, and then secondly to identify what it is that we actually fear.  When we see the monster for what it is, it is easier to break it down until it is nothing more that a fluffy bunny.  It becomes something we can handle and even eliminate all together from our lives.  Then we can release its stranglehold on our wings and fly free.  We can soar to heights we have only dreamed about.

What do your fear?  Have you identified it?  Now is the time to break free!
You are welcome to share your fears here on the blog, here is no judgement, only encouragement.  What did you do to overcome your fear?  I am looking forward to hear from you.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Choose Change

Can you believe it?  We are already a week into this new year! Amazing!  Have you thought this morning about just HOW wonderful it is to open your eyes, to experience a wonderful new day?  Definitely something to put into a Gratitude Journal.
Last week I shared with you my idea for my blog this year.  That is to share some thoughts or ideas with you that you can implement in your life this year.  The idea is that at the end of 2015 you would have done at least a few things differently or extra during this year.  Last week's idea was to start a Daily Gratitude Journal.  How is it going?  I love mine, and all it takes is ten minutes before bedtime to write down 5 things I am grateful for that happened, or that I saw or experienced that day.  The only catch is that it has to be something you have NOT written down before.  At the end of the year you could have 1825 things to be grateful for that you might otherwise have just passed by, or forgotten!!
This week I want to talk about CHANGE.
Yes, the one thing most of us find very, very difficult to do.  People generally do not like change.  We all have internal change detectors that buzz like crazy the minute we encounter something that just has the faintest whiff of change!!!  Yet, change is inevitable if we want to grow, evolve or develop into better human beings.  Change has to happen if we desire something different to what we presently have in our lives.  
Don't worry, I am not here to tell you what it is that you should change, nor will I ask you to change a whole lot of things.  All I want to ask you is to take a look at your life, your circumstances or situation and ask yourself if there were just one thing that you would like to change or do differently, what would that be?  What is it that would make the most difference to your life, if you were to change it or do it differently?  Identify it, write it down and commit yourself to do it.  Now is the time to do it.  Do not put it off any longer.  A friend of mine changed just one thing at the beginning of December.  She decided to cut out all sweetened drinks from her diet and she's already lost 6lb!  One change, a positive result.

I leave you with this thought:

Making a big life change is scary, but what is even more scary? - Regret!!! (Quote by Unknown)

You are welcome to share your thoughts with us here on the blog.  I would love to hear from you!

Monday, 5 January 2015

This is My Year To...

It is another new year (five days old, but still fresh), and of course with it comes the usual New Year Resolutions or is it maybe Disillusions?  Come on, be honest, how many of you write the same resolutions in your brand new diary every year?  This year - lose weight, eat healthier, join the gym, study, pay off debts, etc.  We start off with such enthusiasm, but scarcely a month later, the new diet died an early death and I have put off my gym membership for when I have paid off my debts, and that will happen once I had my last shopping spree on my credit card!  Yeah, right!  I am sad to break it to you, but we are only fooling ourselves.  So what is a person to do?  I mean, it feels so good to have New Year resolutions, it invigorates us, fills us with excitement for the coming year and gives us a purpose.  But on the flip side: it feels terrible when we fail once again!  

I am by no means an expert, but I have a suspicion why we so often fail at carrying through with our resolutions. It is a combination of two things.  Firstly, we have too many things we want to change or start at once.  We lack focus and we are overwhelmed by the magnitude of it all.  We have to narrow it down to one or two things, at the very most, three things.  When we focus our energy on changing or starting one particular thing we tend to be much more successful at it.  Secondly, we do not want it badly enough.  Often we want to do something to please somebody else or to impress somebody.  We want to do it because everyone else is doing it or we think it is the right thing or the "in" thing to do.  We want to do it for all the wrong reasons.  The only time I will be successful is when I want to do it for myself and I want to REALLY do it.  New Year's resolutions is a very personal issue, and I need to focus all my attention on it.

Those who have been following my blog might remember this post from the 5th of May 2014:

"I am not, I repeat, NOT an athlete.  Although I love walking, and can even walk at quite a pace, I am not athletic at all.  We are not an athletic family.  We love art.  We are regulars on the culture scene.  My idea of running is that the engine is here to stay!  Yet I have a dream, one that I have kept quite well hidden, well that is until now.  Deep down, in the very darkest recesses of my heart there is this desire to run at least a 5 k. There I have said it, now I want to hide!  
So, that is how I find myself at this point in my life where I have bought the shoes and actually donned them.  Now it is time to set out on the journey.  Time for the unwilling athlete to step up!"

Yes, to run the 5k was my resolution for 2014 (as well as for the year before, and the year before and the year before that!  You get the picture?)
So, how did it go with this resolution?  Well, I did it.  Not only did I do it, I went on to the 1ok and the 15k!  So, what made the difference?  How did I get to stick to my goal last year when all the previous years it stayed just a thought in my diary?  My answer?  A singleness of thought.  It was my ONLY goal and this time I was selfish, I wanted to do it for ME. Not because it was the "in" thing to do, not because somebody else was doing it, but for me.  That was how I started, but then I got a bonus.  My daughter told me about her desire, and that was to take part in a major event, running a half marathon, but she did not want to do it alone.  Of course, like the mother I am, I volunteered to be her running buddy.  Thus 5k has become 10k and 15 k and I am steadily working my way up to 21k!!! 
Doing this had the added bonus that one of my other resolutions of previous years happened without me even trying.  I have lost the 5kg's (10lb) that I have been threatening to lose for the past 5 years!

Do you have any new year resolutions?  Then I suggest that you take a long hard look at them and pick just one of them, that one that you really really want to do the most.  That one that speaks to your very essence.  The one, that if you were to achieve it, would make you the happiest.  Pick that one and then focus all your attention on it, live it, breathe it and go for it with all your might.  Banish all your excuses and reasons not to do it. NOW is the time to do it.  Don't put it off any longer.  You owe it to yourself.  I am not a fan of the winter, yet despite the bitter cold, I ventured out of the house and followed my program, hating it, yet loving it.  How great it was when Spring came and all the other athletes started their training and I was already past my base training!  I have had many people critisizing me ("At your age!  You are mad!  You are not an athlete!  You will never be able to do it!  I drove past you and felt so sorry when I saw you suffering so much!") , very few people gave me any words of encouragement, but for the first time it did not matter, because I am not doing it for any of them!!  Pay no attention to the nay-sayers, nor to that little saboteur in your head trying to discourage you.  

GO ON!  DO IT!!!!

You are welcome to share your goals for 2015 with me here on my blog.  I would love to hear from you and encourage you.

I wish you every success in 2015!!!

Sunday, 4 January 2015


Here it is: My Christmas Trifle Concoction my family and friends have been asking for!  I have no specific amounts as I just added as I felt like.

In a large glass bowl, layer as follows:
Double Chocolate Muffins (or any flavour you prefer) broken into chunks.
The syrup of a tin of black cherries drizzled over the muffin pieces.
Caramel Treat dollops all over this layer.
Black Cherries
Vanilla Yoghurt
Raspberry Jelly (Jello)
Broken up Chocolate Flake
Meringues, broken into pieces/ Marshmellos
Repeat layers as many times as you prefer, finishing off with meringues/ whipped cream and Chocolate Flake.

I served this with ice cream.


Thursday, 1 January 2015

Happy Flutterings!!! (1/52)

Happy New Year!!!

Today is the first day of a new year.  It is always one of the most amazing days of the year to me.  It is like a beautifully wrapped present.  We have no idea what is inside, but it shouts out "possibilities"!!!  A new beginning.  Another chance to..... (you fill in the blanks).  We are filled with anticipation. Awesome.  Yet scary.  What will "unwrapping" it bring?  We do not know.  We can hope, we can plan, we can anticipate, we can dream or we can wish.  My wish for you is that 2015 will be an amazing year for you and your loved ones.  My wish is that you will every day experience the blessings of the Lord, and that your days will be filled with joy and peace, love and laughter and health.
I would like to share a few thoughts or ideas with you throughout this year to help you live this year to the fullest, to make this a year of remarkable living.  Join me here for an astounding journey through 2015.
The first idea for 2015 is this:
Keeping a Journal of Gratitude.  Oprah made this idea famous, not me, but I would like to dust it off for this year and truly apply it.  Every day, before you switch your bed lamp off, take 10 minutes to write down 5 things you are grateful for that happened that day.  Sounds easy, but here is the true challenge: you have to every day find 5 totally NEW things that you are grateful for, now THAT's going to get you thinking and really looking around you!!!  I mean most of us are on a daily basis thankful for our families, our friends, health, etc, but if we have mentioned that on the first day it stays true for all the other days, so what is next on your list?  Makes you think, doesn't it?
Happy New Year, my dear readers, and enjoy your journey of Gratitude!  You are welcome to share your thoughts or gratitudes with me here, right on the blog.