Monday, 27 September 2021

Sweet Success




 We all would like to be successful.  We dream of achieving great heights in our careers, we strive to be faster or stronger in the sporting arena, we want to be great writers, dancers, or singers.  Success also does not mean the same thing to all people.  Some people consider success to be how much money they have in the bank, while others feel that being successful is how famous they are, and some view success as something more spiritual.  Whatever your idea of success might be, there is one thing to be aware of.  Success does not just happen.  We look at people who we consider to be successful and often we think that they seem to have it so easy.  We consider them lucky or unusually blessed.
Success is within everybody's reach.  However, success does not come from occasionally pursuing our dreams.  Success comes from consistently doing the things which will take us toward success.  It is showing up for the daily grind, doing the thousand mundane little things which will add up to the big successful accomplishment we desire.  Success is not fireworks and applause, it is every tiresome and tedious step along the way.  It is often a slow process, but perseverance is needed.  It means saying no to quitting.  It means sticking to it.  And remember, while you are pursuing success make every effort to be happy.  Happiness makes the daily grind worthwhile.

Monday, 20 September 2021

You-nique




 "What an odd girl", "What a strange person", maybe you have heard somebody say these words about someone or even heard these said about yourself.  Maybe you, yourself, have uttered these phrases?  We all know somebody that seems radically different from the norm.  You may even feel that you are seen by others as not fitting into the box they have prepared for you.  I certainly am a person that has often found myself not conveniently fitting into anybody's preconceived idea of me.  As a child I have often found myself not being one of the "in-crowd", yet despite pressure to conform, I have decided to walk my own path.  I am proud to say that my children made the same choice.  Rather than giving up their own unique identity just to fit in, they chose to stay true to who they are.  Not always an easy choice, but the only real authentic one.  Have you found yourself in similar circumstances?  Not fitting in because you chose the road less traveled,  feeling isolated, weird, or different?  I have great news for you!!!!  It is perfectly okay not to be one of the faceless crowd.  In fact, you were born to be different and unique!  It is time to celebrate the wonderful you who you were destined to be!

How?  You may ask.  Maybe you have been hiding away for so long that you have lost track of who you are.  Then it is time to go in search of yourself.  I want you to find yourself and get to know yourself.  The true, real, unabridged, unconformed version of YOU!

I want you to go back to when you were a young child.  What was it you really liked to do?   What did you dream of being, what were your childhood dreams and desires?  Chances are that child of long ago was closest to the true version of you.  The version before you felt pressured to change.  Before you adapted to the world.  Before hurt, fear, and disillusionment changed you. Write it down then stick it up next to your mirror where you can see it every time you brush your teeth or comb your hair.  It is a reminder of the true you.  I want you to introduce yourself to that child.  Embrace that child and welcome her/him back.

Often the biggest reason people are afraid to be themselves is fear.  We are afraid that people will not like us for who we are.  We are afraid that we would be ridiculed and excluded.  We fear that people will not accept us.  News flash, they do not need to accept you, YOU have to accept yourself. Accept that no two people, including you, are the same.  We are each different in our own way.  Maybe you are weird, so what, you are also amazingly you-nique!

Stop wasting time trying to fit in, rather spend the time pursuing the things that make you happy.  Forget labels such as "normal", "fitting in" or "part of the crowd", these are all limiting beliefs.  Chuck that box away.  People generally like to put people into a box, neatly tagged with understandable and safe words.  It scares people when they cannot place you in a neatly characterized container.  Well, that is THEIR problem, and they have to deal with it.  Let them put you under a microscope and try to dissect every secret part of you.  Don't worry about it, just be you.  Truth be told, they are secretly admiring you and wishing that had the boldness just to be themselves.

Not fitting in, and not being part of the popular crowd can oftentimes be very isolating and lonely, especially during a person's childhood years.  However, it is usually these individuals that form deeper and more long-lasting relationships, and over the course of time, you will find that you have gathered your own tribe.  People, who like you, are true to themselves, and not threatened by your authenticity.
So, keep walking with confidence, blaze the way, and love every minute of your life.  Why blend in when you were born to stand out?


Monday, 6 September 2021

Rise Above


September is one of my favourite months.  It is proof that hope is never in vain.  Sprigs of green are appearing everywhere.  The morning air vibrates with anticipation.  Beautiful.  Many people, however, look at Spring with quite different eyes.  They talk about the dreaded heat of the summer, they complain about the dust storms sure to come and bemoan the onslaught of bugs and mosquitos.  Often it is a symptom of humankind to see the downside rather than the blessings.  We are quick to complain and rather slow to see the grace.  The simple picture of a flower blooming in the harsh environment of asphalt holds quite a few lessons for us.  Despite the little seed finding itself in difficult circumstances, isolated and separated, it still germinated and rose above the desolation.  There, against the bleak backdrop of the asphalt, it shares its beauty with those passing by.  It brings a message of hope and perseverance.  It shares its nectar and nourishes a butterfly, providing a place of respite to a weary traveler.  If it were planted in a flower bed amongst the abundance of other reds and yellows, its beauty would have indeed added to the spectacular show of the masses.  Yet, here, where perhaps the wind had scattered it, it adds value to an otherwise unforgiving environment.  So, we too might think life is too harsh, too unwelcoming.  We might wonder what value we could possibly have where we are now.  We might dream of being in the lush garden of life, surrounded by extravagant beauty and riches.  We might be yearning for fame, but the winds of misfortune blew us every which way.  We might be feeling the despair of unfulfilled dreams.  The message of this little flower is this:  bloom there where you are, and spread your fragrance.  A light shining amongst a sea of other lights is hardly noticed, but when a tiny flame is lit in a cave of darkness, its value is clearly seen.
Rise above it all, because you were born to bloom.

 

Monday, 30 August 2021

Hold on to Hope

 



It is true.  We are living in interesting and difficult times.  Looking around us we cannot deny that the world seems to be in chaos.  With everything we hear on the news and social media it is quite understandable that we could think that it is all hopeless.  However, the good news is that hope is not a word for the good times.  Hope is at its most powerful when life seems murky and dark.  That is when hope is a beam of light, a whisper amid the noise and hope is what makes the impossible possible.

Yet, holding onto hope can be difficult.  When we look at the situation we find ourselves in, it is easy to feel overwhelmed.  It can paralyze us.  The trick is to take it one step at a time. Focus on the step right in front of you.  Take it with confidence and faith.  Do not weary yourself by think of all that could go wrong, just take this one step and do it the best you can.

The next important thing in order to live in hope is to think of one positive thing about your current situation.  Write it down.  Hold onto it.  Remind yourself of it constantly.  In every situation there will be something positive, we may just have to search for it diligently.  Even just the tiniest spark is enough to drive away the darkness.

When we are caught up in a stressful situation, and when we feel as if all is lost, it is very easy to forget to take care of ourselves.  This, however, is the time we should make a point of nurturing ourselves.  Do at least one thing every day which nurtures you.  Even if it is just drinking a cup of coffee under the shade of a tree.  Grant yourself a moment to breathe and to recuperate. Be kind to yourself.  We are always so busy to be everything to everybody that we forget about ourselves.  Remember, that we are only able to give when we have something to give.  That is why it is important to fill our own emotional and physical resevoirs too.  Go outside, get sunlight on your skin and breathe.

It is also important to eat healthy during times of stress.  Our bodies need good nutrition to help us cope during times of stress.  Also make sure you stay hydrated and that you get enough rest.   Don't forget to get some exercise as well.  A brisk walk does wonders for the body.  Exercise releases endorphins, dopamine, as well as seratonin which all help to trigger positive feelings.  It helps to boost our mood and to think clearly. Go outside, get sunlight on your skin and breathe.

When we are going through a crises we often feel alone and isolated from the rest of society.  This can lead to greater feelings of despair and hopelessness.  However, you are not alone.  There are people who genuinely care and would gladly listen to you and help in which ever way they can.  Don't be afraid to reach out to them.  It is important to talk to somebody.  Having a confidant could help you gain perspective as well as support.  If you need help, ask for it.

Never let go of hope.

H.O.P.E.

Hold On, Pray Earnestly.





Monday, 23 August 2021

Treasure the Moment

 


It's quite a windy and overcast day in August.  There is a promise of rain carried on the breeze. Most of the people I know cannot wait for the winter to pass and I myself long for the warmer days, especially when I walk into my deep-freeze kitchen.  However, it is sad that we do not appreciate the beauty which makes Winter a season to be treasured.
There is a serenity in a winter landscape.  Beautiful, bare trees are etched against crisp pale-blue skies and the sun is twinkling on frost-covered lawns.  The sharp touch of the frosty air on my cheeks, white vapour escaping from my nostrils, and my fingers tingling right to the fingertips invigorate my thoughts.
So often we are so focused on what comes next that the beauty of today, this moment, slips by us unnoticed.  Often we are wrapped up in the past with its pain and failures that we pay little attention to the present.  Even our worries about the future rob us of the simple pleasures to be found in this moment.  Every moment is a capsule of perfection and every breath a miracle.  We are surrounded by beauty.  Petals dancing in the wind, the dust motes floating in a beam of sunlight, the curl of a kitten's tail against your leg, and the smell of freshly turned earth are all precious moments of beauty that pass by unnoticed in our rush to get to the next important thing.
Maybe the beauty of Winter is in the moments we linger just a little longer over a cup of coffee, savouring its heat, and noticing these glimpses of beauty that are best enjoyed at the very moment they are happening.  Maybe we should all take a deep breath, feel how it fills up our lungs and feel the warmth of it as it flows over our lips.  Just for a moment forget where you have to be in the next five minutes or what you have to cook for supper, just be present in the moment and observe, really see, where you are right now.  Do you feel the fabric of the chair you are sitting on, do you hear the hum of the fluorescent light and the heat of the fire warming the room?  Do you hear the laughter of your teenage daughter as she talks on the phone to her best friend?  Do you
feel the warmth of your puppy snuggled against you?  Don't let the moment pass by unnoticed.  Be aware of it and treasure it.  Be alive right now and be blessed. 

Monday, 2 August 2021

Dare to Dream

 



"...once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return...."
-Leonardo Da Vinci

I am a dreamer.  I often catch myself watching the butterflies in summer, flying effortlessly wherever they will, and as I watch they steal my thoughts and take my imagination along on their flight.  My family will often find me like that and with a jolt, I will return to the here and now.  More often than not this was the very thing that got me into trouble at school.  Physically I was in the classroom, but my thoughts were miles away soaring on gossamer wings.....
Dreams are beautiful, wonderful, and despite what some people believe, very necessary.  Many extraordinary things have been discovered and invented by dreamers.  However, dreams are like Faith.  Faith is a glorious word, and by itself it is wonderful.  Faith is a gift, but Faith truly begins to mean something when we actively start doing what we confess to believe.  The same with dreams, they only begin to mean something when we start following our dreams. 
Yet, very few of us really, truly have the courage to follow our dreams.  Most of us can't even say our dreams out loud, some amongst us might get as far as writing them down, but only a small percentage will actually grab hold of them and make them real.  Why would that be?  Fear.  A little four-letter word.  It should be classified as a swear word.  Fear of failure.  Fear that we will be ridiculed.  Fear that others, who are equally afraid to follow their dreams, will point and laugh.  Fear that we may actually succeed and have to face up to the responsibility.
Whatever the reason for our fears, they are dream-stealers.  They condemn us to a flightless life.  They leave behind the bitter taste of "if only".  The best antidote for fear is Faith.  Faith in God, who is the giver of dreams, but also faith in yourself.  If you can dream it, you CAN do it.  It does not matter what the world says about your dreams, what THEIR expectations are of you or your dreams.  It has nothing to do with the world, it has everything to do with you!
Yes, I am a dreamer, and for many years my own fears have kept my dreams in check, but today, right now I AM living my dream and having the greatest fun while doing it.  It does not matter any longer what the world is saying or even whether the world is taking notice of me and my dreams.  I am soaring on gossamer wings and calling to you to follow me.  If you flutter by here, please feel free to share your dreams with me, I would love to dream them with you and encourage you along your way......

Monday, 26 July 2021

Law of Attraction 4


Today I conclude my short series about the law of attraction for July.  I want to share with you the seven steps you can take daily to manifest the law of attraction in your life.

First of all, it is very important to visualize what you want for your day. Do you want to be more productive today? Then visualize yourself sitting at your desk, focussed and working.  See yourself completing each task for the day and clearing your inbox.
Next, set yourself one specific goal for the day and focus your energy on achieving that goal.  Focussing on one specific goal is often more productive than working randomly on several different ideas.
Together, with your goal, also select an affirmation for the day, e.g. I am meant for great things, or I am capable to handle what comes my way, etc.  Write both your goal and your affirmation down where you can see it.  Repeat it out loud.  
Next, make a choice to have a positive mindset.  This will create a positive vibe, and other people will pick up on this energy.
Find ways to extend kindness, but remember to also be kind to yourself.  People will often forget what you say, but they will always remember how you have made them feel.
Finally, when your day is done, reflect on how your day went.  Did you achieve what you set out to do? What will you do differently tomorrow.  Write your thoughts down in a gratitude journal.

Believe beautiful things are coming your way.  May you be blessed.


 

Friday, 16 July 2021

A Fragile Hope


I started my blog in 2012.  The reason behind it was, and still is, to talk about things that are beautiful and uplifting.  I am a person with a positive mindset.  I have a firm belief that there is always a way.  All we have to do is to keep looking until we find it.  I try to post every Monday and Thursday.  Yesterday, however, I sat at my computer and I had no words.  I could not think of anything positive or encouraging to share with you.  The outlook seemed so dim, so utterly hopeless.  What was there to say?  Every word I could think of sounded too frivolous to pen down.  There was devastation in every image flashed on television.  People were hurting.  They are overwhelmed and traumatized.  Their situation is dire.  The reality of no supplies, no food, and demolished infrastructure is devastating.

Through the day, however, little rays of light started to break through the dense smoke of near apocalypse.  Little slivers of hope. People were standing up.  They were taking hands and uniting.  They started cleaning up.  People are volunteering their time.  With every piece of debris they are picking up they are rebuilding and healing a broken country.  Communities are mobilizing and forming human barricades against criminals and looters. Images of people of all denominations praying together are taking the place of the footages of looting.  People are donating food, medicine, and other essential supplies.  Convoys are gathering to transport the goods to the affected areas.

I thank everybody who is involved with the clean-up and restoration of our country.  Men and women who don't turn a blind eye, and who don't wait for somebody else to solve the problem.  I thank the Lord for everybody who decides not to run away, but to stay to rebuild and restore hope.  It will not be an easy road ahead, we will all bear the brunt of this week's events, but in the end, it will be worth it.  We shall rise again.


I leave you with this thought: 

Evil will never triumph as long as there are good men and women willing to do whatever it takes to uphold and restore what is good and honourable.

(The inspiration for this thought I have taken from this quote by utilitarian philosopher John Stuart Mill, who delivered an 1867 inaugural address at the University of St. Andrews and stated:
 “Let not anyone pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part, and forms no opinion. Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends than that good men should look on and do nothing. He is not a good man who, without a protest, allows wrong to be committed in his name, and with the means which he helps to supply, because he will not trouble himself to use his mind on the subject.”)

May the Lord be with you, be blessed.

 

Monday, 12 July 2021

Law Of Attraction 3

Last week we agreed that the law of attraction comes with a choice.  We can choose what we want to attract in our lives.  However, what if life throws us a curveball?  Let's face it, life has a way of happening when we are making other plans.  At the moment, South Africa is experiencing a rough patch.  We are facing Covid 19 and economic difficulties. Furthermore, we have woken up this morning to a country that is quite unsettled.  Many people will face difficult days, weeks, and even months because of what is happening right now.  Where is the choice in this?  They certainly did nothing to attract this trouble in their lives.  They are victims of events beyond their control.  

Still, we have a choice.  We can choose how to react to what is happening. That is where our true power lies.  Our response to any given situation will determine our destiny.  Trials and tribulations are a part of life.  We will not always be able to avoid conflict or disappointment. However, we always have a choice of how to respond or react to it.  There is always a way to get through any situation. The trick is to find the best way.  

Life often takes us by surprise.  It seems as everything is going well and we are feeling on top of the world. Then, unexpectedly, we are confronted by a sudden change.  It is a natural instinct to immediately react to the situation.  However, the best reaction is no reaction.  Take a deep breath and pause a while.  Assess the problem.  Gather all the information you can. Talk about it to somebody you can trust and think about all the possible ways you could respond to the situation.  When we simply react to any given event, it usually comes from our emotions, but when we take the time to evaluate the problem, we engage our emotional intelligence.  The result is usually to our advantage.

By taking time before we respond, we empower ourselves.  We now have the power of choice.  Instead of being a victim, we can now take charge of the situation.  We now control the way we respond.  We can now attract the outcome that we desire. Remember, be vigilant, and guard your thoughts. Carefully assess the situation.


React vs respond, which way will you go? Share your thoughts with me. I would love to hear from you.  Watch my blog for the next installment.

 

Thursday, 8 July 2021

Law of Attraction 2


We are still talking about the law of attraction. One of the great things about the law of attraction is that it always comes with a choice. We can choose what we want to attract in our lives. It is not random. What we think and what actions we take determines what we will attract and manifest in our lives.


 In the last post, I proposed that you examine your thoughts. I asked you to identify your negative thoughts and to ask yourself three crucial questions about these thoughts. Whatever your answer is to the first question, yes or no, leads you to the second question.

It is essential to identify our negative thinking and what triggers our negative thoughts. Once we are clear about it, we can proceed to change these negative thoughts for positive ones.  

For example, 'I don't deserve anything good' change it to 'I deserve to be happy and successful.'

Change 'I am not worthy'  to 'My life is valuable.'

Do this with every negative thought. Jot it down and repeat this to yourself every day.

Fill your thoughts with daily positive affirmations. Speak them out loud. Believe them and take action.


A positive mindset improves our mood, boosts our feeling of well-being, and it helps to reduce stress. Positive people feel less frustrated and have more energy. It increases our ability to be more productive and recognize opportunities.


Have a wonderful day, and keep practicing your positive affirmations.

 

Monday, 5 July 2021

Law of Attraction



These days we hear a lot about the Law of Attraction, but what is that exactly? In short, it is the belief that a positive mindset will bring about positive results. Positive thoughts attract success. We live in a world where energy is all around us. It is also within us. Everything, from our actions to our thoughts, is loaded with energy particles. Every thought you have is an electrical impulse.

Because thoughts are energy, they can change our reality. However, they cannot operate on their own. Let us imagine that our brain is like a car. A car has the potential to move from point A to point B. It has the potential to go fast or slow. However, a car needs an engine to make this possible. This engine is like our thoughts. We think how wonderful it would be to go to the mall, or on a trip. We can imagine what it would feel like and what we would do when we get there. Yet, until we start the car, we are just sitting there in the driveway. For our vehicle to go on the journey will depend on whether we turn the ignition. We have to drive from point A to point B. That is how positive thoughts attract positive outcomes by actually putting action to our thoughts.

There is a snag, however. We have the car(our brain), our car has an engine (our thoughts), but something else is needed for the engine to go when we turn the ignition(take action). We need fuel. Our beliefs are the fuel we need to change thoughts into action. We have to believe that we can do it. We have to have faith it will be a success.

Henry Ford said that whether you think you can or you can't, you're right.

Our thoughts form our beliefs, and our beliefs manifest in our actions. A positive mindset will attract positive results by taking the necessary steps.

It all starts with one important step. Firstly you have to examine your thought patterns. You have to identify your negative thinking. Write down every negative or self-deprecating thought you have. Be brutally honest. Now ask yourself three questions. Is this thought true? Does it serve any positive purpose in your life? With what positive thought can I replace the negative one? Write these answers down and think about them. In my next blog post, we will discuss these in more detail.

Have a wonderful day. Be blessed.




 

Thursday, 1 July 2021

Seven Keys



                                              

The first of July. The seventh month of the year was named for Julius Caesar. Today I want to share with you seven key ideas to practise for July. Firstly, ignore other people's judgements and drama. Julius Caesar said that men are quick to believe what they wish to be true. Everybody has an opinion, and they are allowed to have one. However, we so easily get caught up in their viewpoint that we start doubting ourselves. We even start questioning who we are. People are quick to judge others because it makes them feel better about their own lives. It is also easier to judge than to take the time to be open-minded and trying to put ourselves in the other person's shoes. Do not waste your energy trying to prove to them that their judgement of you is unfair. You are not going to change their mind. Just keep being who you are. The people who are of value in your life will be the ones who appreciate you for who you are.

Secondly, learn to talk less and listen more. Often we do not listen to understand, but we listen to answer back. Ironically, good communication is not about talking but about listening with attention. When we listen we give our brain a chance to make sense of the words and the nuances behind the words. It helps us to understand better and to get clarity about how we want to respond. It allows us to collect our thoughts.

Next, how about taking the time this month to learn something new. Maybe you have always wanted to learn more about astronomy or take up woodwork. Start learning about our beautiful galaxy this month. Go for a woodworking course. We are never too old to learn a new skill or discover more about the world around us.

The fourth key is laughter. Laugh more. Once a week, make a comedy date. Laughter is said to be the best medicine. A good laugh can help to lower our blood pressure and reduces stress.

Key number five, let us extend a helping hand. There are many areas where we could be of service. Maybe volunteer at the local pet shelter, or offer to buy groceries for a housebound person. My friend has started to read to her sight-impaired neighbour, and they have both benefitted from the arrangement. Reach out to somebody in need. Giving of your time is often far more valuable than giving money.

Next, get active. Join a gym or your local running club. Take your dogs for a daily walk around the neighbourhood. Walk to the shop instead of driving, or walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Physical activity is not only good for your body but is beneficial for intellectual and mental health as well. It improves your blood circulation, lowers your blood pressure and stress levels. It releases all those feel-good hormones we need for a feeling of well-being.

Lastly, count your blessings. It is so easy to get caught up in a negative mindset. Complaining about our circumstances, the state the world is in, or the collapsing economy can become a destructive habit. So, instead of talking about all that is wrong, start to talk about everything that's good. Talk about your blessings. Look for the good in everything. It is all a matter of perspective.

Contemplate these seven keys, and then implement them. They are sure to open the door to a happier mindset. Have a great July!


Monday, 28 June 2021

Take Five - Blessing Jar


Today is the fifth post in our Take Five series of small changes. Due to a technology hitch, this post could not come out on Friday, but here it is for today. Three small changes. Most people think of Mondays in colours of blue. It does not have to be the case. For me, Mondays are always days filled with promise and opportunity.

Firstly, for preparation, I want you to get yourself a jar. An empty coffee jar will do the trick. Next, cut up some paper into 5 cm x 8 cm rectangles. Then, once you get home tonight, I would like you to turn the predictable Monday schedule on its head. Surprise your spouse and children tonight with a comedy night. Yes, make some hotdogs and a large bowl of popcorn, put on your PJ's and settle in front of the television and watch a comedy. You will be amazed what fun it is for the whole family to take a break from the norm.

Once the movie has finished and the children are in their beds, then it is time to pamper yourself. Run a hot foam bath for yourself, light some candles, and put on some relaxing music. Spoil yourself with a mask and pedicure.  Maybe you can ask hubby to give you a foot massage. Enjoy an hour of you-time.

Finally, settle into bed with your pre-cut papers, a pen, and your jar. Write down one thing you are grateful for this very moment, and remember to enter the date. Roll it up and put it into the bottle. This is your jar of blessings. If you do this one simple thing for a year, you will have 365 blessings. How wonderful is that?

I hope you have a wonderful day, be blessed, my dear reader.

 

Thursday, 24 June 2021

Take Five - Day 4


What a beautiful morning! I hope you are well and excited about the day.  Small changes are what this week is all about. How are you doing with these suggestions so far? Today I thought it a great day to look at our nutrition. There is so much hype about eating clean, intermittent fasting, and keto dieting that it could be very confusing. Well, today's post is not about promoting any diet, but rather a lifestyle suggestion. Regardless of whether you are on a diet or not, there are some changes we could make. My suggestion for today is to make it a meatless day. You may eat anything you like, but no meat.  Replace your meat choices with vegetables, nuts, fruit, or even cheese.  Meat is an excellent source of protein, but too much could make you feel sluggish.  Taking a break from it once a week is a great way to improve your well-being.

The next idea I have for today is to "pay it forward ". Have you ever seen the movie, Pay It Forward, starring Kevin Spacey, Hellen Hunt, and Haley Joel Osment? It is a thought-provoking film and worth watching. The idea is that instead of paying a favour back to the person who bestowed it on you, you pay a favour to three other people. They likewise do the same. Today is your chance to pay it forward. It does not have to be something huge. Maybe you could pay for the parking of the person next in the queue. Perhaps you could get the tea lady at your work a slice of cake or the car guard a warm cup of coffee. Little acts of kindness can make a difference in somebody's life.

After a busy day, give yourself the evening off. Retire to bed an hour earlier than usual. You do not necessarily go to sleep, but you can relax and unwind from the day's stress. Disconnect all electronic devices except for your music player. Listen to soothing music. Write in your journal or read an extra chapter. This hour is yours.

Have a wonderful day, filled with happiness and purpose.



 

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Take Five - Day 3


Another day of small changes.  Remember that drawer or desk which you de-cluttered?  Today is the day you are donating that bag.  You may feel embarrassed to donate something old and used, but remember that often what you deem as trash may just be somebody's treasure.  All that may be needed is to give the item a wash or replacing a button.  The action of giving something away is also good for our souls.  When we give to others we also realize how much we have to be grateful for.  That item you pass on may just make a difference in somebody else's life.

Another small change you can do today is something that may be long overdue.  Is there somebody in your life that you wish you could have written a letter to?  Is there some or other unresolved issue in your life.  Maybe you ended a relationship on a bad foot, or maybe you've lost somebody you dearly would have loved to talk to one last time?  Whether the person is alive or not, take the time to put pen to paper.  You do not even have to send the letter.  Just the action of writing it is enough to help you deal with the issue.  Pour your heart out, say exactly what you feel about the situation.  Let your hurt, anger, or disappointment flow out onto the paper and out of your heart.  It will lift a weight off your shoulders and healing can happen.

The third change for today is to detox from social media.  At least for today, or when you come home this evening.  All-day long, every day, we are attached to our electronic devices.  We can almost not breathe without it in our hands.  However, we need to take a break from it every so often.  Research has shown that people actually spend less time together than they do on social media.  We have even lost the ability to have a sensible conversation without social media.  We spent hours talking to somebody hundreds of miles away, but cannot talk for fifteen minutes to the person sitting next to us.  It is time for serious detoxing.  When you get home tonight, switch off your phone and disconnect your laptop.  Not only will you surprise your spouse and children, or your parents, you will also sleep much better.

Have a fabulous day!!!

 

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Take Five - Day 2


Someone once asked a sage what would be the most profound wisdom he could share with the world.  After an extended silence, the old man finally replied.  "Only one thing is constant, and that is change."  Yet, change is the one thing we do not do easily.  We are creatures of habit. We love our comfort zones. However, change can be very good for us. Change brings us new opportunities. In the process, we experience growth and more insight into ourselves and the world around us. Change has the power to transform us. It can take us from living a caterpillar life to the life of a beautiful butterfly.  Talk about radical metamorphosis!

Today, we are going to address three areas of our lives.  The spiritual, relationships, and environment. Firstly, take ten minutes today and find a quiet spot. Clear your mind.  Yes, I want you to meditate.  Fill those ten minutes with calmness.  Let the worry and stress slip from your body.  Fill your lungs slowly with air.  Breathe deeply. Let the air replace the tension in your body.  Slowly breathe out.  Feel how all the negative thoughts flow out of you...

Next,  think about all the people you know.  Which person have you lost contact with? Is there someone you have not spoken to for a long time?  Why is it that you have lost contact?  Was it a dispute or a misunderstanding?  Maybe you simply never had the time?  Reach out to that person today.  Phone them, or send them a nice message.  Don't expect anything in return.  Just reach out and send them caring vibes.  You might just be the reason they smile today.

Our environment can play a large role in the way we feel.  Most of us function better in an orderly and comfortable environment.  When we are surrounded by clutter it works on a subconscious level.  It can add to our stress.  I want you to identify one area of clutter.  It could be your desk, a room, or a drawer.  Sort everything into three piles.  One pile is for recycling and one for donation. The third one is for keeping.  Ask yourself if you really need to keep it. Are you actually going to use it?  Even just the action of de-cluttering helps us to regain our focus.

Three small changes, yet it could open up new opportunities.  Try it.  Have a fabulous day!




Monday, 21 June 2021

Take Five




 A new week, and today, here in the Southern hemispheres, the days are slowly growing longer again.  This week I want to challenge you to make a few changes.  Five days, three daily changes, each one from a different area of your life.  Small changes can add up to big results over time.  Some of these changes may even begin a new habit for you.  So today, how about reading that one book you have been meaning to read, yet somehow you have been putting it off.  I know I have such a book next to my bed.  So, tonight will be the night.  Instead of watching my usual program, I am going to start on it and by Friday or Saturday, it will be done. That takes care of the mental area of my life.  

Now, health-wise, I think it is a good plan to cut out sugar for today, at least for the rest of today. Maybe I will try it tomorrow as well.  It is amazing to see just how much sugar we use daily.  Cutting out sugar can really make a big difference in a person's life.  

The third change for today will definitely be to take a walk.  Instead of collapsing on the nearest chair when you get home, how about putting on a pair of comfortable shoes and take to the road.  You don't need to do more than 30 minutes of walking to experience its invigorating effect.  Take your dogs along for the walk, they will certainly love it.

There you are, three little changes, but they are filled with feel-good effects.  Reading that book, cutting out sugar, and taking a walk, what can be easier.  Have fun!  See you tomorrow for the next three little changes.

Monday, 14 June 2021

Pause




Monday.  Again.  Do you also sometimes feel that time is just rushing past at breakneck speed?  The week-end has been merely the blink of an eye.  This day is already past halfway, yet my inbox is still piled high.  Everybody wants their pound of flesh, and I can hardly breathe.  Yes, you know that feeling.  That feeling of overwhelm.  Well, it is time to press the pause button.  No, I am not talking about taking a vacation, that is too far into the future, and chances are you will suffer burn-out before then.  I am also not talking about a week-end breakaway.  I am talking about hitting the pause button right now.  A moment before your next meeting, before answering the next call or handling the next crises.  We usually are so busy tackling our to-do list, catching up on e-mails or scrambling from one deadline to the next that we forget to breathe, we forget to take a moment to just be calm and re-assess our next step.  We run from errand to meeting to telephone call and we grab a coffee on the go.  Pause.  Now!
   Breathe.  

Pour yourself that cup of coffee, and sit down.  For two minutes just savour that warm aroma wafting past your nose,  taste it's warmth, feel it slipping down your throat.  Empty your mind of all the to-do lists, all the hectic talk echoing through your head.  Just focus on this moment, don't rush off into the clamour of your thoughts.  Pause and breathe.  
Take your lunch hour, it is your sacred time and step outside the office.  Take a walk along the pavement, smile at the passers-by, listen to the laughter of children, notice the colours of the sky and the flowers blooming in the cracks.  Clear your mind of any thoughts about work, about the afternoon meeting, the worry about your children's homework or what is for dinner.  Pause and enjoy where you are right now, name your blessings and your joys.
So often we are taken hostage by our thoughts, our fears and our emotions.  They sweep us along on a path of worry, anxiety and destruction.  We loose sight of the shore, of what is real and we are so overwhelmed by it all that we feel as if we are out of control and drowning.  Pause.  Take a deep breath and regain your focus.  Reboot.

Yes, I hear you say, but what if....
What if you take just a few moments, fill your thoughts with stillness.  Be calm.  Psalm 46:10 says , "Be still, and know that I am God."  When life becomes too hectic, when fear and worry threaten to destroy your peace, when your emotions want to overwhelm you, just take a moment and press the pause button.  Breathe.  Let calmness flow into you, envelop you and lift you higher.

Pause.
Then play again.


Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Like a Tree


 Love.  At some time we are all afflicted by this emotion.  When we are little we are convinced that we will never love or marry anybody.  We are just going to stay at home with our parents forever and ever.  But then, we all start dreaming of the fairytale story of eternal blissful heart-palpitating love, or as the owl in Bambi said "almost everybody gets twitterpated".  

Yes, we grow up and we fall in love with the idea of idyllic love.  The fairytale hype of "living happily ever after".  The truth be told, as my sister, enlightened me, when the fairytale ends with "and they lived happily ever after", that is when real life starts.

Every year when Arbour Day comes around, most of us have the desire to plant a tree that would one day provide us with fruit and shade, so we buy a sapling, and with much ado and care we plant it in our garden.  We can already imagine the beautiful tree it is going to be.  For the first few weeks we ardently take care of it, we nurture it and we make sure it gets the correct amount of water and food, but over time we start to take its growth for granted.  Slowly the sapling grows into a tree, but along the way it picks up scars, drought stunts its growth, winds bend and twist the young branches.  Sometimes this tree withers and dies, or gets chopped down.  However, a loving gardener, will tend to this tree and protect it against the elements and prune it carefully.

Love is like this tree.  When we fall in love we have such high ideals and dreams, but life and time can wreak havoc with this tender tree.  The storms of life can rip its branches off, the sun can scorch its leaves.  The winter frost can destroy its fruit.  Insects can burrow into its core and eat away at its life.  We, as the gardeners tending this tree, must be vigilant and take care of this tree.  We must see to its needs, water it correctly, treat any diseases it might pick up or pests setting out to destroy it.  We have to gently shape it into the way we want it to grow.  All this takes care and effort.  It is a long term investment.  We can't possibly hope to plant a tree today and in a year hope to enjoy the spread of its leaves.  However, when we tend to it year in and year out, we will eventually sit in its shade, and not only us, but our grandchildren and their children as well.  It will be a legacy long after we have passed.  Such is love and marriage.  When we take care of it, it grows into a beautiful tree, providing lush shade and delicious fruit, even if the bark bears the wounds of the elements and the hardships of the seasons.

When I look back, I also see the girl I was with stars in my eyes.  Yet today I see a woman, and I am glad that my love and I can shelter in the shade of our love tree.  Its branches might be slightly bend and twisted, and there are scars in its bark, but it was worth tending to it.  Now we can enjoy the stillness beneath its cool canopy.

Monday, 31 May 2021

Pause & Walk

 


I am sure that most of us know somebody we would rather avoid.  You know, that one person who seems to always put your back up, or who seems intend on making your life unpleasant.  All of us, at one time or another, have been the victim of slanderous gossip or snide remarks. Most of us, at some point in our lives, have experienced hurt or vindictiveness. Very often our reaction is to stay away from that person's company and to avoid interaction with him, or her, at all costs.  Of course, there is nothing wrong with avoiding somebody who has treated us badly, belittled or bullied us.  However, when it starts to impact on our own lives and our own freedom, it is time to re-evaluate the situation.  

The one thing most of us have learned is that it is impossible to change another person's behaviour.  Nothing we can do, say or explain will change who they are, what they think about us or how they behave towards us.  The way they treat you and other people says everything about who they are.  The way they behave is absolutely their own choice, and they have every right to decide for themselves how they want to behave.  It usually has very little to do with who we are.  The only thing we do have any control over is how we react to them.  Yes, I may choose to avoid them, I may choose to not go to the same places where they are.  I can choose to keep myself isolated from them.  It is my right to do so.  Yet, doing this might in the end prevent me from enjoying my own freedom, it might keep me in bondage and it might prevent me from truly soaring and enjoying life.  By allowing other people's behaviour or opinion to govern your life, to control what you say, how you live or where you go, you in effect allow them to put you in a cage and to walk off with the key.

What should you do if you are being treated badly, betrayed, gossiped about or falsely accused?  First of all, apply my PAUSE method.

P - Precisely determine what has happened. Get all the facts clear.
A - Assess exactly how bad it is?  Is it worth making a fuss about, or is it hardly worth thinking about?
U - Understand the motive or the reason behind it.
S - Set aside your emotions.  It is fine to feel upset, disappointed or hurt, but do not let your emotions         run away with you.
E - Establish your boundaries.  Stay true to your own moral code, but do not allow others to abuse or         disrespect you.


And then, after the pause comes the WALK.

W - Wave and smile.  Allow nothing to steal your peace.
A -  Adjust your focus, keep it on your goal.
L -  Let in go.  
K -  Keep negativity and toxic people out of your life.




Thursday, 27 May 2021

Busy Busy Busy

 


Busy has become a buzz word.  Everybody is busy.  We run around from sunrise to sunset and beyond on a daily basis.  There are hardly enough hours in a day for all our busyness.  Ask anybody out there how they are and more often than not you would hear the answer "Hectic", "I don't have time for anything, I am too busy" or "Sorry, I've got to rush".  The world is in a flat spin to get everything done.  Now.  Our diaries are filled with hasty scribbles and bursting with post-it notes, our timetables have timetables!  Every minute of our lives are accounted for.  Our children suffer the same fate.  They are rushed from school to the one extramural activity to the next.  One can often hear mothers exchange activity lists with one another, as they wait for their children at school. Johnny has extra computer class till three, then it is science club and athletic practice followed by whatever else.  Johnny will probably not get to his homework before eight and he is writing three tests tomorrow. Sigh.

There seems to be a certain prestige to being busy.  A jam-packed itinerary receives a badge of honour and takes you to upper echelon status.  We fear being caught 'not busy'.  People believe being busy equals being found worthy, your life serves a purpose. If you are so busy then surely you must be important.  When we meet new people, they rarely ask us who we are, they ask us what we do for a living or where do we work.  If you want to see them go into wordless shock just give them this answer: "I am a stay-at-home mom" , "I am a housewife" or "I'm retired".  The shock and horror of it!  W-w-what?  You don't work?!"  "What on earth do you do with yourself all day?"  Of course, usually it does not get to THAT question, because by that time they have usually decided that you are not worth much and you obviously cannot have anything worthwhile to add to the value of their lives.  Most put you in the box labeled :
"Redundant".  You see "housewives", "stay-at-home mothers" or slightly more fancy "home executives" are simply not busy enough.  There are no time-checks, deadline meetings, minutes or roll-call registers to document our worthiness and our busyness.

Sadly, there is a price to pay for all this busyness, and we are setting our children up to eventually pay this price too.  We are losing out on connection.  Real, deep and meaningful connection.  Firstly we miss out connecting with our own authentic self.  That part of us which is so much more than being busy.  Being so busy can blind us to our real priorities.  It keeps us from connecting to our spouse, and from being present in our marriages.  We miss out on connecting to our children, getting to know them beyond the cuteness of toddlerhood and beyond the angry fa├žade of the teenage years.  In the fog of busyness we lose sight of the real meaning of living. 

We get so lost in the gathering of more and more stuff and the ticking off of tasks completed that we miss out discovering our true passions and developing our real talents. We miss out on the beauty there is in stillness, and the calmness of the setting sun. We miss out on the simple joy of just doing nothing much together.  There is simply no time to gather as a family around the dinner table, or play a game of cards. The most common regret of people at the end of their lives is the wish that they had lived lives true to themselves and not what others had expected of them.  They regret the time not spent with loved ones, friendships lost and dreams forgotten.  Suddenly having been so busy has lost its glamour and it is stripped of its importance.

Enter Covid.  This dreaded and destructive virus.  Suddenly the world was halted in its tracks.  Despite the devastation this disease has brought, I can't help seeing some of the good which came with it.  Suddenly families were forced to spend time together.  We rediscovered board games, we tackled projects together as a family, we took up gardening, painting and exercising.  We took part in silly challenges,  and redecorated.  We made plans to make an income and many people discovered their entrepreneurial skills.  Many discovered their passions and talents, simply because they had time.  We had a breather from busyness. When the restrictions relaxed a bit, walking the dogs became an adventure.

Hopefully we will remember some of these lessons. Maybe being busy will become less important and really living, a priority.


Monday, 24 May 2021

Guard Your Heart

 


This morning I woke up with a heavy heart.  This is unusual for me as I am a morning person and I am usually excited to wake up to a splendid new day.  Yet today I did not feel my usual chirpy self.  Last night a friend of ours was attacked and stabbed on his way home from church.  This senseless act of violence saddened me and I tossed and turned most of the night.  Coupled with all the depressing news we are bombarded with on a daily basis, it is small wonder that we find ourselves heavy-hearted.  Then as I did my morning reading I came across this verse:

Proverbs 4:23
"Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it."

It is interesting that in the King James version of the Bible the word heart is used approximately 826 times.  The heart of man is very important to the Lord.  This word in the Old Testament is translated from the Hebrew word "leb".  It is rarely used in the literal sense of heart, meaning the physical organ, but rather metaphorically as the center of our being, the inner man, the heart of our understanding.  Yes, our thought, ideas and beliefs.  When we are told to guard our heart, it does not mean that we must harden our hearts against love, or not feeling sympathy for other people.  Neither does it mean that we should be wary of people trying to take advantage of us. No, to guard your heart is an inside job.  

The very next line of the verse gives away the clue: "..for everything you do flows from it."  We must guard our hearts, our inner being, there where first of all our thoughts originate.  It is what happens within our thoughts.  We have to guard our thoughts at all costs, because these thoughts are the origin of every word we utter and every action we take.  That is where choice also starts.  What do I choose to fill my mind with?  Thoughts of joy, thoughts of gratefulness or thoughts of fear, hopelessness and worry?  I have to guard my heart against negativity and anxiety.  What our hearts are filled with will flow from our lips and will manifest in our actions.

It is what is in our hearts that has a direct effect on the way we view all of life.  If our hearts are filled with bitterness, anger and fear we will be unable to see the beauty and grace our lives are filled with.  These negative emotions will suck all the passion and enthusiasm out of you.  We will suffer under an unbearable burden, our steps will be weary and our hearts will feel heavy and overwhelmed.  We were never intended to live lives of misery, fear and anxiety, but to live life abundantly.  This we read in John 10:10(b) "... I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."  Therefore guard your heart against these cumbersome and negative thoughts.  Focus on your blessings.  It is amazing what you can find to be grateful for once you start looking.  The funny thing is that once you start focusing on your blessings, it is impossible to be miserable.

Friday, 21 May 2021

Time


Time.  It fills everyday.  Our lives revolve around it and through it.  We moan about it, we wish for it.  Yet, what is it?  To give it one simple definition is something that has made even intellectuals scratch their heads.  Some view time as part of the basic structure of life and the universe, that in time things happen in a sequence.  Others believe that time is not an entity or a happening, that it cannot be measured.
Most people, however, would agree that although we know that a minute holds sixty seconds and an hour has sixty minutes, time has a very subjective quality associated with it.  It is closely linked to our emotions. Waiting for the bus to arrive can make a few minutes feel like an hour especially if you are running late, while the opposite is true when one does not want a period of time to pass too quickly.  Then a week-end of forty-eight hours plus can seem as if it passed in the blink of an eye.
Whether you view time scientifically or philosophically, we all are subjected to its passing. Some of us view it as a gift, while others view it as a curse.  It cannot be bought, nor can it be given away or even captured.  It cannot be unspent or re-spent.
Sometimes we perceive time as a tormentor, when old age is prolonged beyond our understanding.  When time granted is short, we feel it is playing a cruel trick on us and it leaves us with unanswered questions, yet to the butterfly those few hours of life is enough for it to fulfill its life's purpose with such an abundance of joy that it leaves us enthralled.
To me, every moment of time is precious, but even so I find it impossible to engrave every moment in my memory.  What a blessing photographs are!  However, I wish that I could have captured not only the special moments, but also those ordinary mundane moments, those real life moments that link the special moments together. Little butterfly moments. I would keep them in a viewing jar.  How wonderful it would be to every now and again slip into my viewing jar and relive some of those snatches of time.  The first time my parents looked at me, the nights my dad tucked me in.  The coffee-fresh mornings in the game park when the day just awoke.  The day my mom sang at my wedding - what a surprise!  Those moments of silly laughter with my sister in the mall, the day she took me to the library. The first day I held my children in my arms, bundling them up against all the sharpness of the world, their first smiles.  Crossing the street, holding onto their tiny, trusting little hands.  My husband's first look of adoration, the early morning warmth of his embrace. All those days he would make the people around him laugh. The endless days of play with my brother.  The special times when I helped bath my little nephew, now a grown man.  The last day I saw my dad, just so I can have a chance to say all the things I never did.  The day my friend and I sat on a street corner, painting the sunrise.  Those cold winter days when my mom would fetch me from school and we would go get warm pies from the old bakery.  These are but a few.
How precious our memories are, and over time they become more so.  That is surely why the old folk speak about "The Good 'ole Days" even though they were often times of hardship.  Time has a way to glorify even the worst of times and the worst of sinners.  Time, elusive as it might appear at times, is a healing balm and a reflecting mirror.  What moments would you like to keep in a viewing jar?  How about sharing them with us here on my blog?
Thank you for stopping by and reading.  I would love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave a comment.  For reading more about time go to this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time

Thursday, 20 May 2021

With all your Heart


A couple of weeks ago we had quite a storm here.  I remember standing at the window and watched as the lightning lit up the sky and the thunder rumbled and shook the windows.  I felt quite frightened and very insignificant.  The storm raged for about half an hour followed by hours of drenching rain.  I am in awe of the power of nature.

Whenever we go to the Kruger National Park, we are all very excited to see the beautiful animals in their natural habitat.  We usually make it a challenge who would see the Big Five first.  Each of us has our favourite , but I am particularly fascinated by the elephant.  Apart from its impressive size there is something majestic about its whole demeanor.  When an elephant trumpets it is as if the whole forest listens in a hushed silence.  Whenever we encounter this magnificent animal we would all watch in awe as it makes its way through the bush and effortlessly snaps off a branch in its way.

Some years ago my husband and I went to an open air concert of Elton John's.  I will always remember the excitement reverberating amongst the fans, it was as if the air was laden with electricity ready to ignite.  When the superstar came on stage the cheering and hand clapping were deafening. When he started to play it felt as if the piano echoed within my very being and the melody swept me off my feet.  I was utterly in awe of his amazing talent.  In that sea of people I felt totally insignificant.

Why am I talking about a raging storm, a gigantic animal and an impressive musician?  What do they have in common?  Greatness.  We look at them with awe and we are humbled.  We become aware of how small we are, how trivial we are.  The world in general are impressed by greatness.  We admire that which is impressive, regal, special and phenomenal.  Like a moth to a candle, people are drawn to celebrities and achievers.  We believe that to be of any importance we must do great things.  We believe we have to perform miracles, achieve top position in our class, win first prize and see our name in newspapers and the media.  We become obsessed by achievements.

However, this belief often sets us up for disappointment and even failure.  We become so lost in the idea of what we should be and what we should achieve that we loose sight of what is important.  Don't get me wrong, it is important that we have a goal to strive for, it is important that we try to improve ourselves.  However, when it becomes an obsession, when we feel that it is all or bust, then we need to reconsider.

I take you back to the storm.  The next day there were still puddles everywhere and the grass certainly looked greener.  Everything looked fresh and clean.  However, the street was littered with broken branches and leaves.  A tree had fallen over onto some telephone lines and a few of the lower houses were flooded.  The storm brought much needed rain to the area, but it was far from perfect.  Compare it now with the gentle moisture the dewdrops bring every morning.  Although we hardly notice them as we rush off to work, they do their job quietly, quenching the thirst of the grass, the daffodils and the insects. 

The elephant, so magnificent and awe-inspiring, yet trees are stripped of their bark and bushes are trampled underfoot.  A dung beetle hastily scampers away, and after the beast has passed, carries on cleaning the forest floor.   A butterfly, barely noticed, flits by, pollinating as it goes from flower to flower.  Insignificant in the vastness of the forest, yet so important.

The cry of a baby, the chuckle of a toddler, the little voice in a choir, and the twitter of birds on the morning air, none of these have superstar status, but they all have their part to play in the symphony of  live.  Each one important and adding their beauty to complete the picture.

We were not all called to be mega stars, not all of us will do great things, but all of us can do little things with greatness. Do every little thing well and one day you will realize that there were no little things.  They were all great things!  That kind word you spoke stopped somebody from ending their life, that smile you gave as you passed gave somebody new hope, that door you held open made somebody believe in goodness.  You will never know what impact you have had on somebody, but they will always remember what your action has meant to them.

Do little things with all your heart, that is where true greatness comes from.