Wednesday, 26 October 2016

I See You

Our world is in dire need of one thing.  Yes, we need rain.  We need peace.  We need a strong and stable economy.  Yet, there is one crucial thing we really need.  We need compassion.  However, in the busy,  performance driven world we live in there is very little place or time for compassion. We all rush from appointment to appointment, deadline to deadline. We have very little time for small talk.  In the work environment our focus is on achievement, productivity and profits and very little on real human connection.  This mindset spills over into our daily lives as well.  We have very little time for people outside of our immediate family circle.  We are more and more becoming strangers to the people around us.  We see people mostly as potential clients or customers, we evaluate them according to their potential usefulness in our lives.  We seldom see the person for who he or she really is.  We see their outward appearance and according to that we judge them, and then we either utilize them or discard them.
The result of this is that although we are becoming more productive and efficient, we in reality become poorer.  We are losing the human element in our lives.  More and more we are closing ourselves up in a cocoon, unconnected to the outside world, and to other humans.  With all the problems we face in our societies, the crime statistics we read about or even experience, we are welcoming our little cocoon.  We have become fearful of not only strangers, but even people moving outside of our little circle.  We shy away from making contact with others in fear of becoming involved, fearing for the demands they may make on our time, our resources or emotions.  We look at people, but we avoid connecting with them.  We avoid really seeing them, because seeing them opens the way for our hearts to start connecting with them.
When I start to see, I begin to realize that the person standing in front of me also have dreams and fears just like me.  He has worries and hopes just like me.  She is a mother just like me.  He or she is old just like I might be one day.  She is sad or happy, excited or anxious just like I am sometimes.  They bleed just like me. There is no difference.  We are alike in every way that matters.  When we really see into the hearts of people, we become compassionate and we start to care.  Our beings connect across the chasm of social differences and the barriers of race.  It is in that moment that all of life's trivial issues become moot.  It is in that moment that my soul reaches out to the person in front of me and our hearts really touch, we become one.  As one we are so much stronger.  Mothers that are united can unite their children, can unite a nation.  If we can see and connect with the plight we see in other people we can build bridges across any divide be it cultural, social or racial.  
It all starts with me.  I have to open my eyes and really really see you, connect with you and feel the beat of your heart.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

You Are Wonderful

How wonderful it is: the blessing of a brand new day, a brand new week.  I want to start off today's blog to wish each and every one of you a wonderful week filled with an abundance of blessings!

We have had a wonderful week-end with my younger daughter being home, the first time in quite a while.  She and her dad sat singing together till late in the evening.  During this session we were sharing what were some of our favourite songs.  She mentioned that she loved the song "Just As I Am".  This of course got me thinking about "Acceptance".  Acceptance is something most of us crave.  We need it.  In fact it is very high on our Basic Needs list.  We all want to feel that we are accepted for who we are.  We want to be loved and liked for who we are without any pretense or frills and accessories added.  We need to be loved unconditionally, warts and all.  Being accepted gives us a feeling of security and a sense of belonging.  We look for this acceptance wherever we go, from people we encounter and especially from those people we share our lives with. 

 However, the one person we really need acceptance from is the one that stubbornly withholds it from us.  That person is my own self, my inner critic, my worst enemy.  Instead of acceptance we constantly badger ourselves with disapproval and we criticize ourselves.  We reproach ourselves for who we are and constantly set ourselves up for failure by our own self-doubt.  We continuously sit in judgement of ourselves.  We claim that we accept others, but the reality is that as long as we do not accept ourselves we can hardly begin to accept others.

Everything begins firstly with ourselves.  To be kind to others we have to first learn to be kind to ourselves.  Kindness leads to acceptance and acceptance leads to love and tolerance.  I owe it to myself to accept myself for who I am and to value my uniqueness.  I have to give myself credit for my talents and abilities and I must learn to celebrate the person I am.  Acceptance is the key to self-love and self-worth.  When I accept myself just for who I am it leads me finally to the most elusive and most sought after gift of all - peace.

 Once I accept myself I will live in peace with myself and also with others.

Today, before you go out into the world, look at yourself, reach out to yourself and accept yourself, you have been wonderfully and beautifully created.

Be Blessed!

Monday, 17 October 2016

Things - A Poem

 Today I would like to share a poem I have written for my husband:


We all have things.
Beautiful things, big things.
Things that have meaning,
some that gather nothing but dust.
My house is filled with them.
I need them not.
Their value is found only
in their connection to you.

Some crave gold,
but just leave me your pillow,
privy to all your dreams,
Many work for luxury,
but I want your shirt, holding
the scent of your heartbeat.
Give me the guitar, the heat of your
fingertips imprinted on the strings,
that spoon, the one you chose, carefully.

I want to weave your voice
into my hair, etch your laughter
onto my face,into every wrinkle,
I want to stitch the warmth
of your touch to my clothes,
tattoo every breath of you
all over my hands, my lips.

These things will be enough,
I want to travel light,
so I can quickly follow were you
to journey beyond here first,
so do not labour to fill our house
with stuff and many things,
just teach me the melody
you'll whistle guiding me to you.

© Charmaine Fourie   

Monday, 3 October 2016

Clearly Visible

We are in the 10th month of the year!  Unbelievable.  It really feels like the beginning of the year was just last week!!!  I was shocked to see that in some shops the sales assistants were busy unpacking the tinsel in preparation for the Christmas season.  It is as if the year is on a downward roller-coaster!  I want to shout at the ride-operator to stop, I want to get off and catch my breath.

 Over the week-end I took an overview of the past year and with a shock I realized that I had better get a move on, there are many things I still have to do this year, some goals I have not gotten around to.  I am sure many of you are in this same situation.  At the beginning of the year we are all fired up and ready to get going.  We make To-Do lists, Goals-For-The-Year lists, Wish Lists and many more lists and we are eager to make this the year of change.  Yet when we get to the end of the year, or in this case, the tenth month, we wonder how it happened that the year passed without us achieving our goals.  I believe the answer is probably as easy a little five-letter word: FOCUS.
At the beginning of the year, with 365(6) days stretched out in front of us like a blank canvas, it is easy to focus on what we would like to achieve, and to close in on some goals for the year.  There are little or few distractions, and our mind are clear and focused, but as the year progresses with all its pressures and distractions it is easy to lose our vision and we get pulled into a dozen directions all at once.  

With all the demands which daily life makes on our time and energy it is important that we keep our eyes on our goals and maintain our focus.  In order to do this, keep the following in mind:

F : First 3 important goals or tasks you want to accomplish for the year, and do the same for each day/ week.  It is often a good idea to select these things from different areas of your life for example Work, Personal, Chores or Studies, Health and Spiritual.
O : Only You 
...can set these goals.  They have to be important to YOU, not somebody else.  You are the only one who can keep yourself motivated.  Do not set these goals to impress or please anybody else.  That would be a sure way to set yourself up for failure.
C : Commit to Completing 
...the tasks/ goals you have set for yourself.  Write them down where they will be visible to you, and will serve as a daily reminder.  Make a pact with yourself that you will not give up on these goals until you have completed them.  Set yourself a time frame within which you must complete the task or goal.
U : Use your time wisely.  
Chain the procrastination monkey up where he cannot interfere with your time.  Stick religiously to your schedule, and get your goals for the day done at the very start of your day.  Do not get side-tracked by anything else until you have completed your 3 selected tasks/ goals for the day.  When they are done, reward yourself with something you like, a cup of coffee, a ten-minute chat to a friend or a quick dive in the pool.
S : Stick-to-It-Ness.  
Develop a mindset of single-mindedness.  Keep your attention on your goals and set clear, realistic and achievable goals with clear directions of how to achieve them. Stick to them and don't ever give up on your goals or your dreams.

It is so easy to get distracted, but maybe if we constantly remind ourselves what "focus" stands for it may help us to achieve our goals one day at a time.  Now I am going to put my money where my mouth is and follow my own advice!

If you have any thoughts on the matter why not share them with us in the comment box, I would LOVE to hear from you!

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Flying in the Shadow

In many cultures butterflies are thought of as being
the souls of the people who have passed on.  To me butterflies are magical and entrancing, they represent so many things - thoughts, hope, rebirth, transformation, words, memories, etc.   
Butterflies always seem to follow me around.  Ever since I can remember I have been fascinated by them, and many people have associated butterflies with me in some sense or another.  In my thoughts I carry many butterflies with me, the butterfly memory of my mother, my father, a few dear friends.  They flutter eternally through my recollections.  Sometimes they feel so close that I am sure if I turn fast enough I will catch them where they are hiding in my shadow.
I often talk about my parents to my children who never had the privilege to know them, I share anecdotes from their lives with my friends and try to implement what they taught me in every part of my life.  It is my way to acknowledge their existence, to celebrate the people they were.  It is a way to ensure their footprints on this earth are never lost, I am a witness of their lives.  In fact I am pretty sure that their memory will even be passed on to my children's children.
I think this is what we owe the ones we've loved, to speak their names and tell their stories, not because they were kings or queens, anybody famous or infamous, but because they are forever a part of our existence.  They are interwoven in the pattern of life, as inseparable from us as our own shadows.  Our thoughts give those who have left this earth wings to fly once more for a moment alongside us, to briefly comfort us hovering just within our shadow,   Only in darkness is it possible to loose one's shadow. 
Everyone of them have left their footprints in our lives and souls and we are blessed for having known them, my children are blessed by learning about their grandparents from me.  We do not honour them by placing flowers on a grave, or flipping through a photo album, but every time we smile at a memory of them.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

What Babies Teach Us

The arrival of a baby is cause for a major celebration for most families.  Babies seem to turn even cynical, life-hardened adults into cooing, face-pulling and blabbering beings, all just to illicit a smile from a sleepy infant.  Babies instantly change the dynamics of a family and reinvent the established routine of most households.  The content of conversations also change to the extent that we ask ourselves what on earth we spoke about BB (before baby)?

The majority of parents are totally wrapped up in the care of their little miracle, and they are eager to teach their children everything they need to know. Yet having a new born in our family, and not being the primary care-giver has given me the opportunity to observe my delightful granddaughter and I was suddenly struct by this truth:  this little bundle is already adding value to our lives just by being here, dozing off in a little bubble of bliss,  With her every breath she is teaching us about life and living.  Observing her, she taught me a few things and I would like to share them with you:

1. We need people

We as adults like to think of ourselves as independent and self-relying individuals.  We like to believe we know all the answers, and we seldom if ever like to ask for help or guidance.  We want to do everything ourselves.  Asking for help or advice implies weakness.  But babies instinctively know they need help, and they accept it without it affecting their self-esteem.  In fact they can get quite vocal when they need assistance.  Babies know that we need other people in order to survive.  We need to connect to other people, in fact our wiring is such that we can cope better in most situations if we can share our thoughts, ideas, worries or problems with somebody else.

2. Just the basics

Babies are satisfied and happy little creatures when their basic needs are met.  Their basic needs are love, sustenance, comfort and safety.  They flourish when their simplest needs are met.  They do not need things, they need to be cradled in the loving arms of their parents and they need their attention.  They do not need expensive dinners, meals in fancy restaurants or gourmet food, no they just need milk to fill their tummies and help them grow.  They do not need a palace or a room filled with all the luxuries money can buy, they just need a place filled with love and a warm cozy bed and as for safety, where better than in your mommy's arms, holding you safe and the monsters at bay.  No baby has ever demanded to be driven around in a luxury car or to sleep in a five star residence waited on by a dozen servants.

3. Unconditional

Babies are unconditional beings.  They do not care who their parents are.  They are not impressed by the title of CEO, Doctor or Professor.  They do not care whether their parents are the prettiest, the richest or the most clever people.  They do not care whether we walk around in PJ's and slippers or wear Prada.  They love us and smile at us regardless of who we are.  We are their hero's and their people and they look at us with total adoration.

4. Free to be themselves

Babies never pretend to be who they are not (except for role-playing i.e. pretending to be a tortoise for a whole day).  They are completely themselves.  They are not afraid to chuckle with total abandon or cry when they are unhappy.  They sleep whenever they want to without caring whether they snore or drool.  They are not scared to be vocal or excited, and they could not care less if other people like them or not, they are quite comfortable with whom they are.

5. Never give up

Have you ever seen a baby who has tried to lift up his head when he is doing tummy time, but then his head flops back down?  Have you seen that baby then refuse to ever try that again?  No, you did not.  Babies try and fail, but then try again until they get it right.  Babies never give up, even when they fall and bruise their knees, or knock their heads they get up and try it again.  Babies persevere, they have this inherent believe that they will succeed.  The option of quitting never enters their minds.

6. A inquisitive mind

Babies are ready and eager to learn.  They observe everything around them with wide open eyes, drinking in every little detail.  They touch and taste everything they can get hold of.  Just watch those little fingers reach out for a piece of fluff, their whole being is focused on reaching it and examining it.  Even the smallest thing draws their attention and they marvel at the wonder of it.  They do not merely notice the new toy, they also notice the box, the wrapping and that fascinating piece of cello-tape.  Oh, how amazing that piece of sticky plastic is!  Through the eyes of children we have an opportunity to re-discover the wonders of life!

7. Trust and have Faith

Babies do not worry.  They do not fret or get stomach ulcers from stress.  They trust that those strange sleep-deprived cooing humans will take care of them, will look after them and provide for them.  They have full confidence that their parents and any other significant adult are totally reliable and have their best interest at heart.   They have faith that everything will be as it should be.  They open themselves up with no fear of being hurt, rejected or neglected.  They believe in the goodness of people and take the truth at face value.  They never doubt for one minute the words of their parents.  They understand the key concept of faith.

How blessed I am to have such a tiny little tutor reminding me once again about the core principles of life.  It is amazing what the effect of living out these seven basic rules has on our lives.  When we refocus on the things that are truly important all the other nonsense and baggage we tend to hold onto just fades away.  Let us heed the lessons these tiny humans teach us.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Approved by God

Having recently become a granny I am once again filled with awe.  New borns are the most precious gift to humans.  Through their eyes we have the opportunity to view life with renewed wonder and delight.  It is just amazing how open and receptive they are.  They have no pre-conceived ideas about the world, the people around them or themselves.  They are positive and enthusiastic about life, firmly expecting the good.  Their lives and thought are a perfectly clean slate. 
Yet sadly, too soon, the world and its ideas start to write something else on their clean canvasses.  The baby who chuckled with abandon starts looking for approval from his parents.  The toddler who ran eagerly with wobbly knees to any stranger, starts hiding behind his mommy's legs and the three year old who sang nursery rhymes delightfully off-key now only lip-syncs in the Sunday School choir.
It happens just about to all of us.  We stop trusting our own authentic voice and start to believe the whispers of the world.  We start to crave the approval of others.  Even the voices of our own parents are drowned out by the noise of the world.  Our ears become finely tuned to the frequency of criticism and judgement.  Other people's opinion and assessment of us starts to weigh heavier than that of the people who love us and our self-esteem takes a serious knock.  We forget who and what we really are and we completely disregard the fact that we have been created by a Creator who does not make mistakes.  We have been created perfectly and uniquely, we already have the seal of approval from our Creator, yet we desperately seek the approval of others.
The world is so quick to pass out labels.  We easily attach a tag of "Failure", "Neurotic", "Useless", "Worthless" or such to others as well as to ourselves.  We end up believing these labels and it starts becoming our dominant thoughts and these thoughts start ruling, or worse ruining, our lives.  We become slaves of other peoples', as well as our own, opinions of us.

The following quote is attributed to Buddha:  
"We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves."
This is so true.  The thoughts which constantly go around in our minds are the ones that are like the regular footsteps making a pathway through a field.  With every thought it becomes engraved on our psyche, and it shapes our behaviour.  We have to stop this negative thought pattern and we do that by starting to believe what the Lord says to us about us.  People seldom truly want to see us prosper or achieve great heights.  They can cope better with us when we are on a level where we are their equal or even less.  Therefore do not allow anyone to limit you or define who you are.  Accept only God's opinion of you.

If you take anything away from today, let it be this: stop seeking the approval of others, rip off the labels, you already carry the Lord's stamp of approval.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Spring is Here!

Today is a beautiful day! It is officially the first day of Spring. It is the perfect Spring day with blue skies and bright sunshine and just a gentle breeze stirring the fresh green leaves and tender blossoms.  What a blessing, what joy!
I love mornings.  Everything is new, fresh and delightful.  I love waking up to the chatter of the birds just outside our bedroom window.  I always listen to them and invent dialogue for them.  My cat also loves listening to them and then she chats back to them in her voice she reserves just for the birds!  I also imagine what her dialogue is and it usually bodes nothing good for the unsuspecting little birds.
Every morning to me is like receiving a gift.  It is all beautifully wrapped up in blue skies,tied up with early morning sunlight and decorated with butterflies. Very soppy and sentimental, I know, but that is really how I feel about early mornings.  Some days the wrapping is a bit gloomy, but still I look forward to unwrapping this mysterious, enticing and gracious gift.
This gift, however, is very different from all other gifts.  Usually the gift we receive is just what it is - a pretty little soap, exquisite jewelry or maybe a beautiful book.  Sometimes it is something we always wanted, but at other times it might be something we already have.  This early morning gift though is a very unique gift.  It is what I decide to make out of it.  If I look for beauty in my day, that is what I will find in my gift, but if I look for the ugly in today, the angry and hateful, that, too, is what I will get from the gift.  What I decide to do with this gift of today is determined by what happens in my heart and in my thoughts, it gives shape to my day and ultimately my life.
We all receive this gift, but what we do with it, what we make out of it, remains a personal choice.  Yes, sometimes we wake up, and we realize that our gift will never be entirely the same again, as life and circumstances have maybe attached a label or two to my gift.  Maybe it is a label of sadness, or regret.  Maybe the gift tag reads "Change", yet I still have a choice about what I am going to do with this brand new day.  Will I celebrate it or waste it, will I use it for good or squander it on insignificant things, because there seems to be an endless supply of it?
Something else about this gift that is different from normal gifts is that where most gifts we can keep and enjoy still for a long time to come, this gift just belongs to today, to now.  I cannot save it for tomorrow, and I if I drag yesterday into it, I spoil it with bitterness, blame or regret.  It has an expiry time.
Graciously God grants us each day another opportunity, another wonderful gift.  It is so sad that in our youth we have little value for this gift, and so easily trade it for nonsense, filling the hours with unnecessary baggage. Fortunately, as we grow "wiser ", so our appreciation also increases and we start to treasure this gift of now and we cram it with everything that is worthwhile and good.
My wish for you is that  you will every morning unwrap this gift with joy and embrace your new today with wide open arms and live it!!

Have a joyful Spring!

If you flutter by here please feel free to comment.  I would love to hear from you.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Pause A Moment

The last day of August, the final day of Woman's Month.  Today is also officially, in the Southern Hemisphere at least, the last day of Winter.  I can feel my soul pushing against the cocoon and yearning to feel the sun on its wings.  But just before leaving this cocoon, maybe it is a good time to look back and reflect on this past month, and also the year so far.  Most of us are so focused on today and the future that we sometimes lose sight of how far we have come.  After all, every journey has a beginning, and if we never reflect on where we have started how can we judge how far we still have to go.  We need yesterday as a reference, to heed the lessons learned and to make better choices for the journey ahead.  We need to look back on our footsteps, to see where we have walked and if it is inline with our destination.

Socrates said that "the unexamined life is not worth living."  It is important to take stock of our lives, to reflect again on our dreams and accomplishments in order to know how to proceed and how to continue our journey.  Reflection is important in order to determine if we are still on the path we set out to travel, or to realign ourselves with our goals.

I have come up with a five part checklist for reflecting on the past.  I call it "The 5 P's to move from Past to Present".

1. First of all, reflect on your "Passion".  Our passions lie at the very core of our existence.  It is part of our spirit's axle.  It is interesting to note that the word passion has its origins in Latin from the  past participle stem  pati meaning  "to suffer, endure,"  Our passions are those things we feel strongly about.  We are so ardent about them that we will even be prepared to endure hardship in order to follow our passions.  Very often our passions are driven by events we went through in the past.   A child who saw a parent suffer from emphysema may be fanatical about launching an anti-tobacco campaign or a person confronted with domestic violence as a child may establish a shelter for abused women and children.  Their past drives their passions.  What is your passion?  What is it that excites you?  Is the path you are following in line with your passions?

2. Secondly, consider your "Purpose".  Our passion gives birth to our purpose.  Our live's purpose is born from that which inspires us, and our talents nurture our purpose, shape it and guide it.  I need to ask myself what is it that I can do that will add value to my life, but also to the lives of others.  What is it that truly makes me happy.  How can my life through the driving force of my passion and the use of my talents be of service to others, to my family and my community.  It is the answer to this that reveals our life's purpose.  

3. Next, look at your "Physical" condition, reflect on your health, your fitness and your emotional well-being.  In order to live out our passion and follow our purpose we need to be in the best shape possible for our own physical limitations.  You do not have to be Miss or Mr World to  follow your passion, but you need to take good care of your body.  A healthy body gives rise to a healthy mind, and it impacts on our happiness.  A feeling of happiness energizes us, and we are able to give so much more of ourselves to a starving world.  If you find that you are out of shape, suffer from unhealthy eating habits and are feeling depressed, now is the time to do something about it.  Join the gym, get sound nutritional advice and seek professional help for your depression.  Of course, following our dreams and pursuing our life's purpose is a great way to prevent or even cure depression, but even people who live out their passions to the fullest can have health or mental issues.  Thus it is important to regularly take stock of your physical well-being.

4. The fourth P which we have to reflect upon is "Place".  Where do you find yourself?  What are the circumstances surrounding you and are you in the right place to live out your passion and pursue your purpose?  What position do you fill in your family and your community.  We are all affected by milieu within which we exist. We are in constant interaction with our surroundings as well as the people within our circle of influence.  When reflecting on our surroundings and the people we encounter we have to ask ourselves what impact we have on our community, and how can we contribute positively to the lives of others?  How can I use my passion to make it a better place for myself, my family and my community? 

5.  As we reflect on all these things it is a good time to also reflect on the "Plan"I have had for my life thus far.  Has my plan been working according to my passion and purpose?  Has it helped me to pursue my dreams?  What changes do I need to make to my plan in order to bring me closer to my life's purpose?  What is my vision for the future and will following the same plan as yesterday bring me closer to my goal, or is it time for a change?

Reflecting on the past is the best way to gain insight about what you have achieved and what areas in your life you have to work at.  It provides us with the opportunity to make better choices in the future and apply the lessons we have learned.

Reflect on the past, retain what is necessary and resume your journey.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Open Your Eyes

So, how was your day today?  Chances are that you have had quite a hectic day.  You have most probably been rushing around from point A to point B to get everything done, to meet everybody's demands and somehow juggle your own family's needs as well.  I am pretty sure that you are feeling exhausted.  It is nothing new.  We all suffer from the pressure everyday life puts on us.

Now that you have a spare moment (after all, you are reading this), even though it's a stolen moment, I would like to ask you what is it that you remember most about today?  What event that happened today will stick in your mind for days or maybe weeks to come?  What is the one thing you will take away from this day?  Is it maybe the fact that you finished all the correspondence in your inbox?  Maybe your books balanced perfectly at the end of the day?  Or maybe you signed a major new client or got the bonus you were hoping for.  How long will the joy of it last?  Until you spend the bonus or till the inbox overflows again?

In the frenzied, success-driven world we are living in, these are quite important milestones, and we have every right to feel proud of them, yet when all is said and done how much do they really weigh?  What was the price we paid for them?  Now I ask you again: What will you remember about today?
Did you notice the new woman from the technical department dab at her eyes during the morning meeting?  Do you remember the woman standing in the queue with the worried expression on her face?  The one who double checked the money in her purse?  Did you notice the old man looking at the confectionery table, almost licking his lips, but then turning away to buy half a loaf of brown bread instead?

Don't worry if you didn't, most of us would not have noticed either.  In our busy world we have little time to look around us.  We avoid making eye contact in the queue or at the shop, lest we have to strike up a conversation and waste valuable time.  We walk with our eyes straight ahead, looking down and notice only those things we need to avoid in order not to trip and fall.  We rarely notice the little purple flower blooming against all odds in the cracks of the pavement.  We are oblivious to the sliver of bright blue sky sticking out above the skyscrapers and we are unaware of the toddler staring up with wide-eyed wonder at the world around him while we are waiting for the traffic light to turn green.

In the evenings we get home and between making dinner and bath time rituals we do a quick recap of the day with our spouse and children, just touching on the basics and running through the next day's itinerary.  Yet, did you notice your teenager is more sullen than usual, or how your tweeny is suddenly more conscious of what her hair looks like? Maybe you noticed that your husband or wife seems extra tired, but being so weary yourself you put it down to something that will pass.

Life passes us by day by day, and at the end of it we are so grateful to slip into our comfortable beds, not realizing that even though we were so busy busy, we were never actually alive.
You see, life is made up out of so much more than the huge important pieces.  The big blocks of achievements and goals.  In fact the big, important things would be useless without the in between bits holding it all together.  The little bits are the stitches keeping our life's quilt together.  It is when we start opening our eyes and all our senses to the world around us that we start waking up, and we start living life instead of merely passing through it.  It is the smile we share with the other person across the room, a kind word to somebody we meet at the supermarket, the extra ten minutes of cuddling with my nine year old or the late night conversation with my husband that make not only my life, but also the other person's life more memorable.

These little insignificant things are the ones that colour our lives in, it sets the tone and it makes all the rushing around worthwhile.  These are the things to jot down in our Gratitude Journals and not the huge things.  The huge things in life get trophies, certificates or a new car, but the little things need to be recorded in order to remember them and celebrate them when we get to that point in our lives when we wonder what was the point of it all.

So wake up, and start paying attention, life truly is beautiful.  Start seeing, really noticing and connecting with life.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Travel On

It's Friday!
If you are like most people in the world then this is the day you have looked forward to all week long.  From the minute you get out of bed on Monday morning, in the back of your mind you are already thinking about Friday.  We love Fridays, looking forward to the week-end when we can spend time with family, or take a trip somewhere, or attend some special event for which we got tickets months in advance already.  Whatever week-end means to you, chances are that you have been planning your activities for the week-end and have marked the passing of the days just to get to Friday.
Most of us are like this.  We have our eyes firmly locked onto our destination.  We plan it and make arrangements for it and we make sure we mark it in our diaries.  Yet somehow we forget that in between this moment and that point somewhere in the future there is a whole lot of living that still has to be done.

We are so focused on the destination that we try to bypass everything else as soon as possible.  Women the world over start counting down the months and weeks of their pregnancy from the time they find out they are pregnant.  Many forget to savor the wonder of the miracle growing within them because they are so focused on preparing for the birth.  We marvel holding that new born baby in our arms, but soon the reality settles in and we start wishing our children were older, thinking if only they could sit, talk, walk or go to school, things would get better.  Then, before we know it our children are out of the house, taking on the responsibilities for their own journey, and we realize that we were so busy chasing after the destination that we missed out on so much of their daily development.

Often people are so busy getting to that point in life when they can say that "I have arrived" that they miss out on the beauty of life right now, at this very moment.  They chase after that point in time, that "ultimate" destination with so much energy that they are too exhausted to cope, let alone, enjoy the present.  They falsely believe that real living can only happen once you get "there", once you have that six-figure paycheck, that mansion in the posh neighbourhood, a luxury yacht, that sought after trophy, etc, etc, etc.  Newsflash:  That moment, that destination is only a little moment in time, a tiny fraction of life.  When you reach that "arrival point", when all your life has revolved about getting "there", you discover that it does not hold all the satisfaction which you expected, because the price you paid for it was too high.  That is when you look for the next destination, the next goal, mistakenly believing again that it would satisfy your needs. It becomes a constant chasing after wind.  Life has got very little to do with the destination, but everything to do with the journey.

It is so important to realize that we are all travelers, we are all busy with a journey.  We are never alone on the road, and when we reach out to our fellow travelers along the way, we can help and encourage one another, and we can make the journey so much more enjoyable.  We are not simply moving from point A to point B in a void or a vacuum, no we are passing through some amazing scenery, take a moment to relish it.  Enjoy the ride.  Every journey we undertake is filled with life lessons.  We might experience uphills and detours, sometimes a few potholes along the way, but there are also long and easy downhills with beautiful vistas ahead, places we can rest and replenish our souls.

It is very good and very necessary to know where we are going, and it is important to have a road map of how to get there, but never forget that it is the journey that is the most important, and every journey is what we make it.  

Happy Travelling.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

And I called her Mom

This Woman's Month I want to share information with you about a few incredible women,  Here is another tribute to a great woman.
She was amazing.  She had the look of Olivia de Havilland.  She drew looks wherever she went with her dark hair and perfectly set eyebrows above the bluest eyes you could imagine.  Yet it was never her beauty which lingered in your mind when she left, but her presence.  She walked upright and proud with grace and confidence.  From childhood she was taught to work hard and selflessly. Growing to womanhood during the forties and fifties she was often noted for her stylish clothes and was the envy of her peers.  She made all her own clothes in the style of the latest fashions, and despite working long hours and travelling by train to her work, she was always beautifully dressed.  Yet her hands told the story of a woman who knew what it meant to work hard.
 She put her children and family above her own needs and she was her husband's most adoring fan, raising her children to idolize him.  She was a romantic, yet very practical.  She had the voice of an angel and an unshakable faith, teaching her children how to believe.
She loved the sea, carnations and movies.  She loved chocolates and Turkish Delight.  Sundays were filled with the delicious flavours of  rich, delicious home-cooking.  She drove her car like a racing driver and walked through life with uncompromising principles.  But more than all these attributes it was her kindness which would be remembered by all who crossed paths with her.  It emanated from her like a welcoming fragrance, reassuring you that as long as she was there everything would always be okay.  Her smile was gentle, filled with joy and humility.
She was truly woman, unique and intriguing.  She was one-of-a-kind.  She is still that never-ending song that echoes through every day of my life.
...and I called her Mom.

Monday, 15 August 2016


This month being Woman's Month, I found myself waking up this morning thinking about the word "woman" and what it means to be a woman. 
So after doing a little bit of research I discovered that contrary to what we believe, i.e. that the word 'woman' was derived from the word 'man', the word 'man' was originally a gender neutral word referring to 'human being'.  Originally the word used to refer to a male human being was the word 'wer' or 'werman'.  At the same time women were called 'wif' or 'wifman(n), meaning 'female human being'.  This later evolved into to different words namely 'wifmann' into 'woman' and 'wif' into 'wife'.  About a thousand years ago the word 'wer' disappeared and male humans began to be referred to as simply 'man'.  The word 'wer' is still found in words like 'werewolf' meaning 'man wolf'. 

Well, that is a bit of trivia about the word 'woman' itself, but what does it mean to be a woman?
First of all being a woman is being human, being a cognitive, emotional and wonderfully unique creature.  Society tends to put women into a box.  Society likes to attach tags to us, it makes them feel safe to be able to identify us by our labels.  We get cataloged and placed in neat little boxes in neat little rows.  Women themselves are the most avid catalogers themselves.  However, here comes the surprising news: women very rarely fit comfortably into these pre-made little boxes.  Since the earliest times women have protested to these confines, and no matter how hard the box-packers tried, they could not close the lids tightly enough!

Women are complex puzzles composed of amazing strengths and weaknesses.  We can be totally logical and irrational at the same time.  A woman is in tune with her emotions and intuitive about the emotions of those around her.  Women are taught endurance and perseverance from an early age.  We are blessed with wisdom and understanding.  We often operate on a high spiritual level and we nurture and teach those in our care.  We have an inherit need to reach out to others.

Not only do we possess amazing strength, and have weaknesses to just remind everyone that even super-beings are not perfect, we are endowed with grace and beauty.  Not the beauty that last for a fleeting moment, but beauty of the soul.  Women possess a beauty that is able to impact on the souls of our children and all who cross our paths.  We are more that caregivers we are care-creators, by our example we lead those following us to greater compassion.  We do not just give love, we teach them how to love.  We teach our children how to believe and how to live.

Being a woman is simply awesome. It is especially wonderful to be a woman in the twenty-first century.  Because of all the women who fought for our emancipation we can today fully enjoy being women.  We are no longer being limited to being the silent and demure ones.  We have a voice and we have a choice. I am so grateful to be a woman, because being a woman means that I can be whatever I want to be!!!  As a woman I am free to be wonderfully feminine.  I can be strong and frivolous, I can be practical and if I want to I may cry for no reason.  I can be absolutely me and I do not need to be an imitation of a man!

Monday, 8 August 2016

A Woman of Worth

As August is Woman's Month I thought it fitting to look at some life lessons we can learn from women who have been a great inspiration for countless of women the world over.  One of the most amazing women in the world was certainly Mother Theresa.
She was born on the 26th of August in 1910.  She was a nun who devoted her entire live to the helping of the poor and the sick.  This selfless and humble women touched and changed countless people's lives.

Here are eight of the most valuable lessons she has taught us.

1. “What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.” 

This question is a favourite one asked by almost every Miss World or Miss Universe television host when interviewing the contestants.  The answers are often elaborate in order to promote the contestants brilliant mind, yet this woman of such diminutive stature comes with a simple answer: go home and love your family.  How profound this is.  We can forget to ever attain world peace if our families are in distress.  Peace begins at home by loving on another, by accepting and nurturing each member of our families.  When we as a family is at peace with one another, we can reach out to others with love and peace.

2.“Peace begins with a smile..”  “Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” 

Smile. This little facial feature can cross the divide between different religions, races and cultures.  It can change the hearts of people.  It can bring comfort to the sad and lonely.  It can lift the spirits of a weary heart and it can unite people.  A smile is never passive, it is good thoughts put in action.  If you can get your enemy to smile, you have found an open window into his heart (my quote, hehe).

3. “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” 

All of us wish that we could change the world, but most of us feel that it is useless to even try as we feel that our voice means nothing against the roar of the mighty ocean.  Yet Mother Theresa encourage us to be that little pebble that can ripple across my life's pond.  I can make a difference in my little circle of influence and if enough people toss their pebbles in the pond, we can together become a mighty wave of change.

4. “Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.” 

We have just had elections in our country.  Most people vote because they would like to see change.  Most of us feel that we have done our bit for democracy, for change and good government.  Now we sit back and wait for the leaders to take charge and make things happen.  The sad truth is that nothing much will happen or change if we do not take charge.  We cannot wait for others to affect the change we want if we ourselves do not take responsibility and become the change we want to see in the world.  We have to do it one step at a time right there, first of all in our own circle.

5. “The trees, the flowers, the plants grow in silence. The stars, the sun, the moon move in silence. Silence gives us a new perspective.” 

We, especially us as women, have so much to say.  We love hearing our own voice, we love talking.  There is nothing wrong with that.  Talking is sharing, ans getting to know one another.  However, sometimes it is good to be silent.  Silence improves our ability to listen.  It is in the silence where we can hear God speak, we can hear the whispers of our soul and we can hear the anguish in somebody else's heart.  Spend at least ten minutes a day in silence.  Be quiet and listen.  Psalm 46:16 call us to be silent and know that God is the Lord.

6.  “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”

This is so true.  Love and judgement never share the same seat.  We cannot profess to love someone, but at the same time sit in judgement over them.  To love somebody means to accept them warts and all.  We cannot be selective about which part of them we love and which part we hate.  It is important to take note of the fact that there is a difference between judgement and discernment.  Discernment comes down to the ability to differentiate between what is right and what is wrong, but I do not judge people for the choices which they make.  Accepting people and respecting the choices they make also does not mean that we condone what they have done, but rather that we love them despite doing things differently to what we would have done.  Our duty is not to judge, but simply to love.  Leave the judging to the judges and the Lord.

7.  “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”

We love reminiscing about the past and we love dreaming about tomorrow and thus another day slip by in which we did not accomplish much.  We have all fallen victim to this at some time or another.  The truth, however, is that we only have this day, this one today and we dare not waste it.  Let us wake up and get going.  Do not put off for another second that which you would like to do.  Do it NOW!!!

8.  “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” 

Speaking comes very easily to most of us.  Our tongues react very quickly to our thoughts. We very seldom think about the words we speak and the effect which they can have on people.  Yet, words are seldom just words.  Words are loaded with meaning and potential.  Words have the power to create or destroy, it can build or demolish.  Words usually lead to actions.  The words we speak can help to shape a person's life, the effect of it visible for years to come.  Words have started wars and words have empowered people.  Words can bring light and life or they can destroy.  King Solomon wrote this about words in Proverbs 18:21(KJV)

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof."
Let us be careful with our words.  Let us choose to be kind, always.
As women we have a responsibility to make the world a better place.  Let us make every effort to live up to our purpose.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Thou shalt not wear white shoes.

“If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.” ~ Katharine Hepburn

All of society is governed by rules.  From the minute we are born we are subjected to rules, laws and policies.  Our parents teach us from very young how to live and act, first of all according to their own house rules and later according to the norms of society and the laws of the country.  Most laws and rules are written down, but there are also many rules that are unwritten, yet accepted by society as the norm guiding our behavior.

Rules are very important to a society as a whole, but equally important to us as individuals.  Rules first of all helps to keep us safe from harm, ourselves and others.  Without rules there would be no civilization and we would live in chaos.  Rules help to give order and structure to our society and guide our behaviour.  A nation without rules and the governance of those rules will be a lawless nation and we would all be at risk in such a society.

However, it is important to have balance in life.  It is important to understand the differences between the different rules we have guiding our lives.  It is vital to understand that there are rules and laws which should be obeyed at all costs.  Those are the rules which protect the sanctity of life, those that are there to ensure our safety and which makes our society a safe place for all its citizens.  These rules are the ones protecting us from chaos and anarchy.  
However, we  also get rules that we have set for ourselves or have been set by others in our society.  In fact we sometimes have so many rules that if we were to obey all of them we will be so exhausted that we will have no life left in us to live!

For instance, heaven forbid if a woman over sixty were to buy herself a leather outfit and a Harley Davidson!  Her friends would surely suffer from shock.  Imagine the horror if you were to wear red to a wedding!!! Who does that?  Uhm,  only all of the best dressed in Hollywood!  Even worse - a middle aged woman taking off her shoes and dancing through the puddles like a five year old?  Definitely not the done thing, all the high society ladies would whisper about it.  We have so many rules and preconceives ideas about what is proper or not.  No wonder the disciples were so horrified at Jesus having dinner with the sinners!

Well, it's Woman's Month and I have some awesome news!!!  You may shock your friends and family!!  You may step outside the box.  It is perfectly okay to let your hair down and dance even if the world is watching.  Do not allow other people and their narrow rules of decorum stifle the beautiful soul you are.  You have one life, you have THIS life and the only rule is to live life to the fullest.  You have been created to be fearfully and wonderfully you-nique !!!Break those boundaries, colour completely outside and over the lines, toss out your sensible shoes and fly off with the butterflies!!!!

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Care for the Caretaker

Women's Month!  Is it not simply awesome?  A whole month to celebrate womanhood!  I love being a woman.  I love it that I have an active sixth sense and am much more intuitive than most men.  I love it that as a woman I am allowed to be emotional. Women are blessed with the ability to bear children and to be nurturing.  Women are caring and selfless.  Being a woman in today's world means that we may do anything, go anywhere and become whatever we want to.  A woman is equally at home in the kitchen, on the sport field and alongside men in the boardrooms.  We may vote, we can make decisions about our own bodies and we may ask for help without feeling inadequate.

However, there is one drawback to being a woman and that is that we rarely understand when to quit, when is it time to let go.  Women inherently persevere against all odds.  We never give up and as a result we often suffer because of this trait.  We try to keep all the balls in the air at the same time. Our caring and nurturing natures compel us to always put everyone and everything else first in our lives.

We are the CEO's of our homes, the interior decorator, family nurse, educator and secretary, taxi service, spiritual councilor, cook and dishwasher, and general maintenance person.  We serve on school and church committees and often some or other charity as well.  We also wear the hats of gracious hostess and of course temptress to our dearly beloved. Then, often, we still have a job as well!  
From the moment we wake up we start rushing around from the one place to the other, juggling appointments at a speed that will be the envy of a circus performer.  We seldom stop to think about everything we do, we just do it, because it has to be done.  

However, all of this tends to come at a price.  Sooner or later we falter.  We fall prey to all sort of ailments.  We become weary or depressed.  Our health deteriorates, or bodies succumb to aches and pains, we tend to gain or sometimes, lose weight.  Yet, it does not end there, with our suffering, no, it begins to take its toll on our families, our marriages and our children.

The question is "What should we do?"

I share with you this quote from Michelle Obama:

"Women in particular need to keep an eye on their physical and mental health, because if we’re scurrying to and from appointments and errands, we don’t have a lot of time to take care of ourselves. We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own “to do” list. "

Yes, we have to make taking care of ourselves a priority too.  If we constantly give, give, give then we are busy emptying our mental, spiritual and physical bank account.  Before long we will have nothing left in that bank account and thus have nothing more to give.  That is exactly when we enter spiritual and mental bankruptcy.

Making ourselves a priority as well, is not selfish or egotistical, it is very necessary.  It is vital to the well-being of our families and marriages.  The healthier we are mentally and physically we are, the stronger we will be and the more we will be able to do and give.  The more we nurture ourselves, and the more time we make for ourselves the more energy we will have to take care of everyone around us.

Let us use this Women's Month to take stock of ourselves and our needs.  Take time out of your busy schedule and make time for a little "ME" time.  Pamper yourself and see what a difference it will make to your total well-being.  Take care of the Caretaker.  Allow yourself to be fully woman.  
Be blessed, dear sister.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

New Wings

There is always something special about a new month and new beginnings.  It is like being giving a brand new pair of wings.  I am filled with excitement at the thought of spreading my wings and soaring.  A new month always seems alive with expectations, excitement and opportunities.  It is even more special when the new month is a month when we can celebrate the wonder of being a woman.  In South Africa August is Women's Month.

Being a woman in the age we live in is especially awesome.  We live in a time of freedom and opportunities.  Today, in most countries, women have the right to vote and they have the right to make decisions about their own futures.  Women have a place in many governments and politics and they have career opportunities in all fields of study.
After centuries of being oppressed, disregarded as human beings and treated as possessions, we now have a voice and treated as (almost) equals.  We may exert our independence and take control of our destiny.  Although many women in many countries still suffer under oppression, the voices of women the world over are shouting out louder and louder against the oppression and discrimination against their fellow sisters.

Women have been fearfully and wonderfully made.  We are unique.  It is because of our specific qualities that we have a very distinctive role to fulfill in the world.  However, in our quest to prove ourselves as equal to men, or better, we sacrifice some of our inherent qualities.  By striving to be like men, as strong, as able and knowledgeable, as 'superior' and as driven we actually betray ourselves.  We sacrifice our uniqueness, we trade it for something inferior and we end up missing God's very specific plan for our lives.  As long as we strive to be as good (or better), as able or as accomplished as the next man we become nothing more than a forgery, a poorly printed copy.

Our strength as women is found in exactly the fact that we ARE women.  We are different.  Our strength is not in denying our femininity, but in celebrating everything that makes us women.  Our strength lies in the way we love, our passionate and caring natures.  It is found in our vision and the way we are fully conscious of all our senses, yes, even that sixth sense.  Even in our weakness there is strength.  Strength is found both in her practical nature and her spiritual beliefs.  A woman's true strength comes from within and not from any validation that the world may give. A really strong woman knows that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of wisdom.

Let us celebrate the wonder of being a woman and let us be joyous and proud this month .  Let us make a difference wherever we go.  I share with you this quote from Oprah Winfrey:

“Step out of the history that is holding you back. Step into the new story you are willing to create.” 

Friday, 22 July 2016

More Than Enough

I am actually quite a positive person.  I am a firm believer that there is always a way, and if there isn't, then a way can be made.  For every problem there is a solution.  I always look for the happy in everything.  Yet every now and again I get days that I feel down, as if the sun is not quite yellow and the sky not totally crisp and clear.  To put it plainly, I feel blue.  Maybe not a deep midnight blue, but definitely a dusty pale blue, a bruised blue.  Usually there is not a specific reason, but rather an accumulation of a few nagging or unsettling things or circumstances.  I feel out of sorts.  I am sure many of you have felt similarly at some or other point in your life.

Today was one of those days.  There was not something specific I could put my finger on, but it was there.  Dull blue edges around my day which  threatened to colour the white spaces blue too.  This feeling was partly due to missing my children and partly due to the whole political and economical situation all around the world.  Maybe the cold weather influenced my mood too?  I did not really feel like doing anything.  My daily have-to-do tasks seemed like a mountain and running one mile felt impossible let alone the 6.2 miles I was supposed to.

Well, after feeling BLAH for most of the morning, I decided to turn my attention to art.  I got out my paints and stencils, my pastels and ink and my art journal.  I forgot about all the have-to-do's and focused on the smell of the paint and the feel of the pastels in my hand.  As I journaled, my mind went off on its own tangent, and peace settled on my shoulders.

I started thinking about how blessed we are.  We wake up everyday refreshed.  We have a chance at another day, we have a choice how to fill it.  We have a choice how we want to look at life, we can choose to see obstacles or opportunities, we can count our blessings or find things to gripe about.  We can choose to forgive or bear a grudge and we can choose to love or hate. We can decide to look at our lives and circumstances with gratitude or we can decide to moan about everything which we don't have.

It all comes down to our perspective.  With what eyes do we look at life in general and our own lives in particular?  When we search for the good and for the positive around us we are guaranteed to find it.  When we count our blessings and we look at life with optimism and heart full of gratitude we will suddenly find that what we have is more than enough.
When we live lives of gratitude a very interesting thing happens: 

Gratitude becomes Abundance!!!

Monday, 18 July 2016

God's Whisper

Last time I blogged about following our dreams and pursuing  our goals.  However, sometimes we have so many dreams and ideas that we get totally confused.  We find it hard to distinguish which ones are real and which ones are merely distractions keeping us from following our true dreams.  Many people feel lost, without any real direction.  They believe there must be some purpose to their existence, but they have no idea what their actual calling might be.  They try a host of different
 things, but nothing seems to truly speak to their hearts.  

I have often felt this same way.  I enjoy doing so many diverse things, but I end up being frustrated because I seldom get the time to do everything I want to do and in the end accomplish far less than I set out to do.  I often feel like a rudderless dinghy out at sea!  However, when I look around me I notice a fleet of dinghies around me, other people who feel equally lost.  What are we to do?  I wish the universe would put up a huge neon sign pointing "This Way!" , maybe while it's flashing add some sound effects, loud cymbals crashing and bells ringing to make sure we notice the huge signboard.  Would it not have been great if we were given a little fortune cookie at birth telling us about our Life's Purpose?

Alas, there is no neon sign or band, nor fortune cookies to show us the way.  However, there IS something out there trying to get our attention, but we are too busy, too loud and we surround ourselves with so much noise that we miss the very thing we search for: guidance.

Stop! Be quiet, and listen...
Do you hear that?
A gentle flutter of wings...whispers.

We are surrounded by it, but we seldom, very very seldom hear it.  Some people say that the universe speaks to us, I prefer to call it God.  We often expect God to come to us with thunder and lightning, we expect him in the storm winds, but right in the beginning of the Bible we read that "they heard the voice of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden during the breeze of the day".  Quietly, softly like a breeze. To hear him we have to be still.  His voice comes to us in many ways.  Sometimes through the loving voices of our parents or people who truly care about us.  Often he uses subtle signs to guide us, divergences along our path or detours that may not make sense to us at the time.  We insist to find better ways, different paths that will lead us to the destinations where we think we should go, only to find ourselves somewhere else entirely.  We get angry about this and resist it with all our power, lets be honest, we throw our toys out of the cot.  But the truth is, if we calm down, if we listen carefully, we realize that on the breeze comes God's whisper "Be still, and know that I am God."

Just this week I was ashamed to realize that the Lord has been trying to send me messages for so long, but I have been too busy with my own plans and ideas to hear his voice.  He has been trying to tell me since I was seven or eight years old.  I ignored him.  Most of my life. Instead I listened to other people telling me the contrary, I accepted their opinion as the gospel.  I listened to my own excuses, my own reasoning.  Yet, still the Lord carried on trying to reach me.  A desire started to well up in me stronger and stronger, but I denied it by getting so very busy with everything else.  Then finally he spoke to me loudly and clearly through the voice of my husband.  At first I laughed at him, but then I stopped and thought, but what if it is really God's plan for me?  What if this longing I have had all my life has been my soul crying out for me to get with God's plan?  What if this is it, the one thing I have been searching for, my purpose? Can I afford to carry on ignoring the Lord's whispers any longer?  Finally I heard him,  Finally, I saw my excuses and my constant procrastination for what it was: FEAR.

Fear is very cunning.  It clothes itself in a myriad of excuses and we believe each and every one of them.  As long as we believe our own excuses we can sit back in our dream chair rocking back and forth and we never have to do anything about it.  Eventually the only thing that remains of our dreams is the dust of thousands of "if only's" that's piled up on top of them.

Are you also wondering which path you should follow, are you searching for something, for a purpose?  Stop listening to the world's version of you, stop listening to fear hiding behind your excuses.  Be still and listen...
When you turn the world's volume down and you turn off your internal dialogue you'll start hearing the soft whispers of God...