On Losing Teeth and Hanging On.


I learned a valuable lesson from my daughter today. She is 6.5 years old and hasn’t lost a tooth yet. Her greatest desire for the last year has been for her teeth to start falling out. I know right,  here I sit at 35 years old and mournfully wonder when I’ll need a set of dentures with all the extractions I’ve already had and there’s a 6 year old wishing hers away. She would watch enviously as her brother lost tooth after tooth, she would come home from school and wistfully tell me how so-and-so had lost a tooth that day in the classroom. I explained that she had only started teething after she was 10 months old, and this was probably why her teeth were falling out late. I explained that the longer it took, the healthier her new shiny white pearls would be and the more she would appreciate them! She was not appeased. She couldn’t understand why everyone else was going through the joy of losing and gaining new teeth; why everyone else was getting money from the tooth fairy and she was being denied. It hurt, especially because her 7 year old brother has lost 7 teeth already. I fear that by the time she starts losing teeth, she’ll be at an age where she doesn’t even believe in the tooth fairy anymore!

Well.

Yesterday I received a hysterical call at work. She was sobbing so hard, I couldn’t make out what she was saying. Eventually I calmed her down and we did some breathing exercises and she told me that her bottom tooth was loose. Of course, I went into panic mode thinking she had had some sort of accident to warrant the pain and agony she was experiencing from this loose tooth, right? She explained that no, nothing had happened, her tooth was just loose.

Ookkkk?

Turns out the whole sensation gave her the fright of her life. That which she had longed for, for the longest time, didn’t actually make her feel that good after all. I eventually calmed her down enough to laugh about it and I managed to muster a bit of excitement out of her. But man, she is still paranoid. She woke me up twice in the middle of the night to verify if I was sure-sure-sure she wouldn’t swallow her tooth and choke on it during the night. Her hand and tongue are constantly fiddling with the little tooth, she doesn’t appear to be enjoying this at all.

And then I got thinking.

Sometimes we pray, and we pray, and.we.pray.. but still it seems like we are not getting our prayers answered. Other people around us seem to be blessed, they are getting promotions, driving fancy cars, their children are well behaved, they go on fancy holidays, their spouses seem like they’ve fallen straight out of the Garden of Eden, their lives are AMAZING.. but why God, aren’t you answering MY prayer? You know I need a new job to afford the school fees. You know I need my sick parents to get better because I don’t have the time and resources to look after them. You know I need my debt cancelled so I can start afresh. You know my marriage is failing, why won’t you intervene? You know my boss is treating me unfairly, why won’t you move him? Or me? You know I can’t relate to my teenage kids and they have fallen off the right path, why can’t you fix them? You know I am lonely and depressed, make me better? You know I have health challenges, why aren’t you healing me? Guys, the list goes on and on.

But Hannah’s tooth saga reminded me that God’s timing is perfect.  Because He knows us. He knows that sometimes we are not ready to handle what is coming. He knows that sometimes we need to go and grow through certain things so that we are equipped to deal with that which we are praying for. Trying to push the hand of God, always lands us in deep water. I bet if Hannah could go back, she would not wish so desperately for that tooth to come out! It’s a silly analogy but it works. I know in my own life when I have tried to do my own thing, when I have not consulted God and gone out and made things happen the way I think they should or done something because I felt I DESERVED it… those things have failed. I know that often the things I have begged God for, and which didn’t ever materialise.. in hindsight I can look back and say “Wow, God, thank you for NOT answering that prayer because my life would have taken an entirely different path if that had actually worked out! A path I know NOW, was not good for me” I’ve learned that waiting on God, builds resilience and grows character. I’ve learned that in the waiting and the trusting, He allows other lessons to be learned. I think what we fail to remember is that ultimately God’s plans for you are good. You just have to trust Him. You just have to go where He leads. You just have to tend to your garden where He has put you. You just have to be faithful with what you have. Remain faithful and obedient. Sometimes we think God is saying no, when really He is saying not yet, or nope you deserve better than that, or trust Me because you wouldn’t want Me to open that door if you knew what was really behind it. Your denial is not always a no. And when you do get that “pearly white” it will be at the perfect time and perfect for you.

There are people going through some stuff. Serious, tragic, heartbreaking stuff. I know that some people may feel that God has turned His back on them. I know there are even believers who are doubting that God cares. I know that there are people who have lost all hope, who can’t see a way out, who can’t see HOW God could fix this situation that He has allowed to go on for so long. But I want to remind you that God sees you, and He hears you and He cares. Won’t you trust that your Father knows every hair on your head and that He is MORE than able to give you a rich, rewarding, ridiculously fruitful life. He is a good, good Father!

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has so much as imagined anything quite like it – what God has arranged for those who love Him. 1 Cor 2: 9

I hope this reaches someone today who needs to read it. I’m praying for you! And for my Hannah’s teeth to fall out and grow back without her losing her mind xxx

#Admissions2017 – We don’t need no education…


First person to guess the singer of the title song gets the prize.

So if you were like me –> had a baby in 2010 and have opted for government schooling… you would have been privy to the rather stressful task of getting your child registered on the new government portal for online applications for admission to schools.  I won’t lie, I was there. Virtually toyi-toying with my comrades, baying for MEC Lesufi’s blood all over social media. It was a blood bath of epic proportions as disgruntled parents and guardians took to social media to lambaste the Minister on his terrible mistake to roll out this new system. Yes, I was one of them. I even tweeted the Minister directly, I was MAD, people. MAD.  I had wasted a whole day’s work waiting for this website to work. There we were, like the Israelites who had the Promised Land in front of them, but instead wanted to go back to the Egypt of standing in a queue to enroll our children into a school. Cussing out the poor Minister and his team.

Tweet

Then the website worked, albeit 7.5 hours after the original kickoff time. But it worked.

And then there was relative silence. No apologies. No congratulations. Just silence. And I felt bad for the Minister. This is theoretically, a huge step for the admissions process in Gauteng. And trust me, I was one of the parents who queued last year, so I know what I’m talking about. This process is the future. Last year, there was lots of wailing and gnashing of teeth as parents queued overnight at schools to ensure their children qualified for a place at the school. We were outraged that we had to line up to get our children an education which they deserved, just by birthright. The whole first come, first serve basis was totally unrealistic, people who were not zoned were also getting into schools before those who lived next door to the school. It was all a bit of a shambles, if we are to be honest.

So yes, I applied online. I then went leisurely to my first school of choice and collected the application forms and  this morning returned them with all the necessary supporting documents. It was a civilised, dignified process. It is the way of the future.

Some of the questions which came out of this process:

  1. How are poor, computer-illiterate people going to apply online? Answer: libraries and DoE offices remain open to assist people with this process. Schools, themselves, are also availing their computer facilities to help. Also, you’d be alarmed at the ever growing number of SA residents (LSM 5 and below) who have smart phones. You can apply on your smart phone.
  2. The website is pre-assigning me to schools I don’t want to go to. Answer: this has always been the case, people. You can only apply to schools in the zone in which you live or work. Nothing new there. While there were technical glitches with the mapping on the site, when that was resolved you HAD to apply to those schools based on the address you plugged in.
  3. The website keeps crashing.  Answer: what we all failed to realise is that the website or the process does not work on a first come, first serve basis. Yes, your application was time stamped but that did not necessarily place you ahead of anyone else in the virtual queue. The website crashed because the whole of Gauteng wanted to go online and register/apply at the SAME time. When that mad dash was over, the website worked perfectly. While it is not advisable to do so, you could actually wait until 1 June and apply for your child and if you are zoned and meet all the requirements for that school, you have as good a chance of being accepted, as the child who applied with the mad rush on the 19th April. Again, NOT advisable but just trying to prove a point.

Look, I don’t know what happens on the back end now. Like I said to a friend, this is Africa so trying all these first world processes does leave one feeling skeptical and unsure. But what I do know is that my child’s application has been submitted in a simple and stress-free way. Whether she is accepted or not is up to the Heavens🙂 but I live in hope!

I feel somewhat ostentatious about the whole thing: we are the Grade 1 class of 2017 who have pioneered the brand new online system for the Department of Education, the first of it’s kind in South Africa! That’s something, isn’t it?!

For what it’s worth, I applaud MEC Lesufi and his team and I apologise for the original hate. With everything else that is going on in South Africa, mostly negative, let’s shout about our small successes too.

South Africa, we live in hope!

 

 

 

Seven. 7?? SEVEN!!


My son is seven today.

What the Bible says about seven.

Seven is a powerful number in the Bible. The number 7 depicts completion and perfection. The special emphasis placed on this number, by God, is evident throughout Scripture. From Genesis with creation which took seven days, right through to Revelation (seven letters to seven churches,  etc) . God’s number is SEVEN.

Seven = completion / perfection / wholeness

What your mother says about seven

Six was a hard year for you. I guess that’s because five was a really cool year where you dangled so cutely on that precipice of babyhood with your feet ever so slightly skimming the waters of true boyhood. Five year olds are like puppies. They are cute, precocious, loved to be loved and do things that constantly make you laugh. They ask awesome questions and they love to learn. I truly believe it’s a magical year to prepare parents and to soften the blow for the angst of six years old. At 6, you were really trying to find yourself. Maybe it was Grade R in a new school. Maybe it was because you were truly cognizant of good / evil, right / wrong, mistakes / on-purpose,  for the first time in your life. At 6 years old, you knew how to tell lies, and tell them well. You challenged me on every level and there was lots of tears from both of us. It was the first time I caught a glimpse of teenage Liam and I didn’t always like him. But as you and I have wrestled and tussled this past year, I’ve uncovered layers of you that I didn’t know were there before. Layers that just need nurturing and correction. Just like a young sapling needs a stake to guide and support it for that period of time before it grows and flourishes on its own, so do young, wild, spirited young boys need their moms to keep them on the straight and narrow. So I think 7 is going to be the year of completion, the year of perfection and the year of wholeness for you. As you come into your own, as you grow more independent, as my apron strings give you more slack to soar, I’m excited to see where you go from here. Your budding wit and sarcasm brings me much delight. Your slick come-backs and quirky retorts infuriate and excite me all at the same time. Your deep analysis and wondering thoughts on why the sky is blue or why boys don’t need to sleep with underpants but girls must sleep with panties, make me wonder what sort of thesis you will write one day. You’re crazy. Like me. You’re a joker . Like me. You cry easily. Like me. You whine and complain. Like your father. Jokes. You have an answer for everything. There’s no topic you know nothing about. Yet. You are so shy. This complete contradiction endears you to me even more. You will not run up to your teacher in the shopping mall and say hello. You will not sing in public, even for money. You will not take part in the school talent show. I know this because the form came home last week and your eyes popped out of your head at the thought of getting up on the stage and doing something alone in front of a crowd. You do not like the dark. You do not like any part of your body to be uncovered when you’re sleeping. You love riding your bike, and positively detest playing cricket. You eat anything and everything and you’re constantly hungry. You love fart jokes still, you love irritating your sister until she cries, then crying when she doesn’t want to play with you. Go figure. You are everything I’d hoped for in a son. You are perfect.

Physically, there isn’t a trace of my little boy anymore. It’s just muscle and long skinny bones and big jagged-edged permanent teeth. Emotionally, I’ve had to learn from scratch how to deal with you. Hugging, kissing and talking it out is not how 7 year olds necessarily deal with things. And this is new ground for me. I’ve had to say I’m sorry on many occasions as you teach me everyday that my way is not always the best way. As a mother to small children, you assume the role of leader and the children must follow. But now I see that as your children get older, the lines of teacher versus student are often blurred. It’s a wonderful and daunting space to be in.

What you say about seven

You still think the earth and everything in it revolves around you. I don’t know that this is a 7 year old thing, or a MALE thing. Sigh. You told me that you’re big now and I shouldn’t even get out of the car at school drop off. BOY, STOP TALKING CRAZY NOW. You also said that I should give you more responsibility. I said OK, why don’t you start by taking out the garbage. That apparently is not what you had in mind. You have asked if you can let go of the booster seat in the car. I still haven’t given you a definite answer on that one. You want to know when you can get a phone. As if. You have asked me stop giving you a teaspoon with your cereal because you aren’t a baby anymore. Oh, you also don’t want me writing too much about you on  the Internet and you want to vet any photos before posting. Fair enough.

Happy birthday my darling. I maintain that loving you is easy because you’re so wonderful. I love being your mom. It is by far the greatest and most rewarding thing I have and will ever do in this life.

ps: I hate guns, I’ve never bought you a toy gun, and fighting games almost always get you into trouble. But for the sake of posterity, let it be known that on your 7th birthday, I bought you that Nerf Gun you wanted so badly, ONLY because I wanted to see you lose your mind this morning. And you did. And it made me so happy🙂

 

Gentle Jesus, meek and mild. NOT.


This started out as an Instagram post and then turned into an essay so I thought… let me come over here to this sad piece of internet and scribble this down while it is still fresh in my mind. If there’s anyone who still comes to this spot, hello! This blog has recently seen less love than a homeless puppy on the side of the road but that’s a post for another day.

So back to the topic.

A few weeks back, Marcia gave me this book by Francis Chan. It’s called Crazy Love – Overwhelmed by a Relentless God. Before I go any further, if you are a Believer you need to read this book. PLEASE READ THIS BOOK. Prior to that, I had mentioned to my Bible reading whatsapp group that I had done one of those Bible studies on the app on my phone by this dude Francis Chan and his thinking was so radical that I HAD to read this book. And by some divine intervention, Marcia was like “oh, I have that book and I’ll give it to you.” Score. So I read the book. Mind.Blown. Plain and simple truths that I think we gloss over once the exuberance of being saved dies down. Mind.Blown. I’ve read it twice in two weeks. That good.

?

Right.

Then our church, Rivers, released a new song a few weeks back. It’s called Wild Love. Get it on iTunes here please. This song speaks of the WILD love God has for us. It’s amazing and awesome and all the other synonyms that mean amazing and awesome. I swear.

Words and imagery speak to me. I am a words person. It’s very rare that words like Crazy / Wild / Radical are mentioned in the same sentence as God / Jesus, right? But the last couple of weeks that’s all I’ve been picturing; this crazy, wild love that God has for me.

Now if you know me, you’ll know I am crazy and wild. I’m all those things you DON’T learn at finishing school. That’s unapologetically me. But I’ve been pondering on how crazy and wild Jesus was / is. This is the same man who stormed into the temple, upturned tables and threw people out because they were dishonouring God’s house. This is the man who always had a quick quip for his 12 disciples who were sooooo slow to get what He was saying some times. The man who offended many because of the raw and honest truth He spoke. That baby in the manager, meek and mild, is no more. He is the Lion of the tribe Judah. He is the Hunter not the hunted. He is all conquering, all powerful, the Creator and King of the entire universe and all that is within it. Demons tremble at the sound of His name. While sin and troubles exist in this world for everyone, He has overcome the world. He is a warrior who will not hesitate to crush those things which aim to harm you. He is Almighty God. The angels and saints are roaring shouts of praise to Him all day, err’day.  And He loves me with a wild and crazy love that I cannot even comprehend. And while God is to be revered and is the Holy of Holies and I don’t EVER want to lose sight of his magnificence, there’s this part of Him that makes my tummy flip… the part that says I get my crazy, wild side from my Daddy. Who loves me fiercely, wildly and crazily.  Don’t get it twisted, He ain’t the meek and mild baby in the manger no more, He would DIE for me. In fact, HE DID. And when you seriously consider this, how can you NOT be radical about this radical man? I grew up in a very conservative faith community, and that’s cool, I believe that there’s space in Heaven for crazy and normal saints, ha! But I’m so glad that God fashioned us all differently. I’m never going to be meek and mild, soft and gentle, calm and angelic (much to my earthly father’s annoyance!). And for years, I thought this was how we Christians needed to be. But the more I look to Jesus, the more convinced I am that in all His absolute glory, in His sinless human form, Him and I could have had lots in common.

So if you’re feeling like a square peg in a round hole, or if you’re scared to take the jump into being saved because you’re scared that you will have to undergo an identity change, please can I encourage you that God says come as you are… He loves you as crazy, wild and radical as you may be. And even when He does a transforming work in you (and He will), He will use you as you are, to bring Him glory. After all, HE created you, He KNEW you before you were even born, silly! He knew I was going to be all sorts of crazy and yet He still chose to bring me into being in my mother’s womb. I think that settles it… God loves a bit of crazy in the kingdom. I want to be crazy for Him, just as He is crazy for me.

It’s getting hot in here…


…so take off all your clothes.

No, please don’t.

But every time someone says “It’s getting hot in here,” you can rest assured I will finish off that sentence with that Nelly jam. Oh, I didn’t tell you? I am that person who will finish off your sentences with an appropriate song lyric.

lyrics

I digress.

Wow Joburg, you came out blazing this week. Now those who know me know that I love the heat. It took me by surprise though. We skipped straight over Spring this year and dived into Summer, right? Talking about diving… for the first time since we moved house, I admitted that I miss one thing about our old house. THE POOL. Man, we loved that pool and we used it a lot. A sprinkler and a plastic splash pool just do not cut it. The husband took the kids to the pool at the gym but what fun is that when you can’t dive, do cannon balls and back flips? Borrrrring. So to my friends with benefits (ie: a swimming pool), we going to be increasing our visits this season. You don’t even have to be there, just leave the back gate open and a coupla lilos and a cooler box full of goodies.

A while back when I was training for the Midmar Mile and trying to find an Olympic sized swimming pool, we stumbled across one in Linden. But it was closed so we couldn’t take a good look. The grounds looked awesome though, sort of the place one could have a picnic at. Has anyone been there? Or do you know of any other cool swimming spots in Jozi? Do not say Sun City.  I love Sun City, I do. But it’s not somewhere I’m going to drive to every weekend or post work in the evenings, you know.

So Summer time means natural hair. Usually in the colder months, I blow dry our hair once a week. Hannah’s hair is really thick and it takes long to dry, so I leave it wet for as short a time as possible when it’s cold. But during the Summer months, I let her hang loose. I am still on the eternal quest to find what products work on Coloured hair. And by that I mean the ethnic group, not hair that has been dyed. Just saying. Having tried everything from the top end to the bottom end of the market, I still cannot say that I have found the magic elixir that will make curly haired Coloured girls squeeeee.  No I don’t want a Brazillian, I don’t want to tame our hair at all, we LOVE big hair, people. But I want something that defines curls, nourishes your hair and doesn’t require dollops of conditioner, mousse, gel and body lotion (oh yeh, guilty) and that has actually been formulated for my kind of hair. That’s not so hard, right? Anyway, while reading Melinda’s blog, I came across a post where she reviewed products from ThePerfectHair. I hopped straight onto that website and just knew I had to try this range when words like:

Mixed Chicks / #bringbackmyhairline / As I am Naturally

… jumped out at me. The funny thing is when I went onto the site, I realised I knew the owner! We’re from the same hood in Durban, she went to school with my sister for goodness sake! Of course I dropped Taryn an email immediately and we got chatting and today I am getting my goods. Watch this space for a review, and in the mean time if you’ve got curly hair issues, check out her website.

Our ‘fros..

han fro

?

I am enjoying the longer days, lighter meals and the fewer clothes. And ice cream. we eat ice cream almost every second day in Summer. And the kids are still at an age where a R3 cone from KFC is a huge treat, so it works out well. I did shave my legs last week after a winter-long hiatus from the blade. I just don’t understand why humans were not made like dogs or bears who naturally shed hair after Winter. It was not pretty.

Roll on Summer, pretty toes and antiperspirant deodorant.

The little toys that aren’t.


I often get emails from people asking me to promote stuff on the blog, or to plug some event, or to ask for help in raising awareness for a specific initiative. Most times I’m just too much of an unreliable blogger to follow through (really I need to put on my big girl blogger panties and take these thing more seriously), and other times it really isn’t a cause I’m interested in.

But sometimes, you come across a cause worth championing and this is one of them. Stuff that makes your heart break. Do you know there are children out there who don’t have toys? Children who re-purpose what we would consider junk, into toys, because they have nothing else. Makeshift robots, dolls, cars, jewellery – these kids make these little toys that aren’t, from scraps. jewel1

jewel 2

car 2

car 1

Now let’s just think about our own children for a minute, shall we. Picture your home in your mind. Picture the toys laying in every conceivable corner. Picture the little cars lined up on the bath tub. Picture the naked Barbie dolls with bad hair. Picture the dozens and dozens of forgotten loom bands laying at the bottom of a toy chest. Picture the rows of books your children probably only read three or four of. Picture the puzzles with missing pieces, the art sets, the balls, the Stikeez collection your kid whined over for weeks.

Now. Picture your home without any of those things.

Sad, isn’t it? It’s wrong and unjust that this is the reality for some children.

The Topsy Foundation is trying to right that wrong. Through a partnership with Spree and Your Parenting, these makeshift toys are being sold “virtually” as real toys. Your full donation goes straight to Topsy to stock their toy library. And guys, they aren’t asking for hundreds of Rands. Please click through to this link and go and buy your virtual toy from as little as R20.

Topsy has partnered with twenty three day care centres in the Mpumalanga area, as well as a centre for physically disabled kids. With the help of your donation, these kids are getting access to specialised educational toys and better trained teachers.

order

See, I just bought my first virtual toy. My next step will be to let my children buy their own “virtual toys” – I think this is an awesome opener for teaching your kids a valuable life lesson right here.

I love that quote from Mother Theresa where she speaks of “not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” Will you do this small thing with me, which will change the lives of many? I dare you.

Finding joy where you are


I’ve blogged about this joy-versus-happiness thing before but I need to talk about this again.

Happiness is a feeling or emotion that ebbs and flows as you go through the highs and lows of your natural life. Obviously, we aren’t always happy. And thank goodness because we all need a dose of the sads to keep us humble, right? But more importantly, the beauty of our humanness is in experiencing the full spectrum of emotions we were built to endure. I won’t lie, I love the release of a full blown snot-inducing ugly cry now and again. Sometimes I secretly enjoy being miz and just climbing under my duvet and shutting everybody out. And let’s be honest, we all roll our eyes at the eternally happy colleague who skips down the corridors in the work place spreading sunshine wherever she goes.

However, joy springs from something deep inside of you. It starts off as a choice, and then burgeons into a belief. It is spurred on by faith and it is not moved by or dependent on circumstance. It is not dictated by your mood or your feelings or the number of snotty tears you cry. Joy remains unshakable in the wake of trials. Joy says I believe that even though this situation sucks right now, God is still the King of the world. He has overcome this. He is on the throne. Whether you like it or not, God’s Will, will be done. And God’s will is always good, is always favourable, is always blessing.

Let me give you an example of my own life right now, just in case Facebook or my Instagram feed has led you to believe that it’s all unicorns and sunbeams around here. My husband and I still argue and disagree on a plethora of things, we are not that couple who “turn the other cheek.”  We are either in a silent treatment face-off or a battle of wills over who gets the last word (I win most times, just saying). Now while there is sadness and disappointment and a lack of respect in these moments, it doesn’t detract from the joy I feel every time I consider that this is MY man (Denzel Washington voice) until I die. My children never fail to confuse and upset me. With every age I’m more astounded at how much harder this parenting thing gets, I mean really can I get a break. I got called in for Liam’s behaviour the other day. Me? I never got called into the teacher’s office NOT ONCE while I was in school, but I’m getting called in for my spawn? NOT COOL. While Hannah has turned into an absolute dream of a child, truly she is my most favourite daughter, she is as volatile as a Slinky… can you say up and down? But with all the difficulties of parenthood, the inexplicable and constant joy I feel whenever I think about these two perfect children is just there. And then there’s the circumstances we face… we’re still in the process of finalising our house sale which means lots of money and lots of anxiety. Secondly, I called the school I had planned to enrol Hannah in for next year to be told that they are actually full, now what? If you know me, you’ll know that sorting out schools for my children has been a project I have dedicated myself to fully and to be rejected in this way was like a slap in the face. And then the daily stresses of life… when there’s more month than money, when your appliances all seem to die at the same time, when you’re drowning in the stress of trying to please all your friends. This may not be true for you, but it is highly stressful for me to try and fit everyone in. I have a guilt complex over trying to meet up with all the special people in my life. There’s the loss of a pet, the boy child who has regressed and cries at bedtime because he is scared of the dark, the point on your to-do list you forgot about and now your boss is pissed off. Guys, if we had to focus on the things that were wrong in our lives at any given moment, we would be truly doomed. I’ve seen people in the darkest of valleys these last few weeks. People who have lost loved ones, people who have been retrenched, people who are going through fires that you and I will never understand and I think to myself HOW do you move forward in the face of such adversity?

But then joy steps in. I don’t know where you find your joy, but I find mine in the Lord. I remain joyful and hopeful and reliant on the fact that I will not succumb to the injuries I face. That this season will pass, that goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life (Ps23:6). I remain confident that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. (Ps 27:13).  You see, joy transcends the here and now and looks forward to the future. It veils your eyes with wisdom enough to see through the pain you may be enduring. Joy is that thing that makes you laugh through your tears, it makes you expectant even when you’re all out of options in the natural, and it comes from a deep-seated knowledge that it isn’t over until God wins.

What every parent needs to hear


I first wrote this post (minus my usual sarcastic bite because they pay me to be nice) for Childside.  Go check them out, they are a pretty useful resource for what’s happening in your city.

What every parent needs to hear

  1. You don’t have to be the perfect parent, as long as you strive to parent YOUR child as perfectly as you know how. It isn’t a competition or a race, it’s the delicate process of growing a human. Your garden. Your flower. How you make it bloom and  grow is up to you.
  1. Parenting is often trial and error. Children do not come with an instruction manual, you learn on the job. And sometimes it’s a pretty yuk job. Don’t beat yourself up when you make mistakes, apologise and move on. You’d be surprised at how forgiving (and forgetful) your children are. Like puppies.
  1. Ask for help. I guarantee that there are plenty of parents who have experience in whatever situation you find yourself in. While every child is beautifully unique, the challenges they face can often be universal. I’ve learned the most from my fellow mommies (and Dr Google obviously).
  1. Don’t be afraid to let your hair down. Being a parent is actually a license to be a kid for the second time. Laugh often, play silly games, get dirty and exercise your imagination. Weirdly enough, it’s in these moments that your children’s respect for you grows.
  1. You are not a genie; you cannot be in two places at one time. Parenting more than one child can be a juggling act. Manage the diary as best you can and if it means that you can’t attend one sports day or one recital, that is OK. Your child may be upset but no permanent damage has been caused from missing one of 100 school activities.
  1. Don’t bear grudges. I know it’s difficult to move on from the Persian rug your toddler scribbled all over, or your favourite sweater your baby vomited on, or the hurt your teenage daughter caused when she called you fat in a fit of rage. But the truth is, they often don’t mean it. Move on. Then go outside and scream as loud as you can to get rid of the urge to put that kid back into your womb.
  1. There’s never a right time. For anything. Waiting until the baby is weaned before going on holiday. Waiting for a special occasion to let your toddler wear that gorgeous dress which Aunt Mildred sent from London. Waiting for the kids to be older before leaving them with a sitter so you can enjoy a date night with your partner. Often the most time is wasted on waiting. Spontaneity is the spice of life.
  1. In total contradiction to point number 7. Spontaneity is good only in small doses. Children and parents thrive within a routine. Make your lives easier by developing a routine that works, and stick to it. The easiest way to get your children to comply is by sticking to the rules, all the time. Don’t make the rookie error of changing the game, they WILL make you pay for it later.
  1. Don’t forget your manners. The easiest way to teach children is to lead by example. Be the person you want your kids to be. It is true that children learn more from what they see, than from what they are actually taught. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve cringed when I hear my kids unknowingly impersonating the ugly me. Watch yourself.
  1. Above all things, affirm your children on the daily. We show our children that we care every day just by keeping them alive (duh) and mostly it’s a thankless job. But be sure to tell your children every day just how much you love them; how proud you are of them. Love them when they are being extremely difficult, like throwing a tantrum in aisle #3. Love them through the difficult stages of their lives. It is said that love conquers all things, let your children understand that through your love for them.

The life I have been missing: why downsizing your life is the bomb diggity.


Hello guys. I’ve missed you *throwskissesallaround.*

Let me bring you up to speed. There’s so much that has been going on. Stuff I’ve wanted to keep private until now because there was a lot of transitioning that needed to take place. Physical transition, but also a mental transition and while the journey has been difficult, the destination is so worth it. SO.WORTH.IT. And we aren’t even there yet!

If you know me well, you’ll know I’ve been talking about downsizing my life for a while now. I even blogged about it here. Downsizing in the sense of simplifying and streamlining the way we do life. I do believe there are many ways you can simplify your life in small ways every day. But sometimes it takes a huge step of faith to make a change even when the pros don’t necessarily outweigh the cons.

I’ve been listening to lots of people in my life, I’ve been reading lots of blog posts and the thread is always the same. People are busy, their lives are hectic, they are stressed out and finding it difficult to balance careers/parenting/finances/relationships/LIFE on the whole. I’m one of those people. But I got to the point where I knew we had to make a drastic change in order to calm the pace of our lives.

So what’s changed?

We moved house! We now live in walking distance to my work. Hannah walks to and from school. Liam’s school is 5kms away. Church is 3 minutes away. I cannot explain the difference this has made. We wake up when the sun is up, our school mornings are leisurely and everyone is calm. I am home at 4pm most days. This means I can cook peacefully, I can sit down and monitor homework, by 6pm everyone is ready for bed which means we have an hour and a half to do whatever we like. Some days I fit gym in before supper. By the time my husband gets home, I am like a 1950’s wife (without the pressed hair and makeup) and ready to serve him and attend to his needs unlike the past where we were all chasing our tails to bedtime.

That’s the physical transition.

Mentally, it was difficult to let go. Going into a complex when you’re used to living in a house on a street is not without its challenges. Giving up a big yard and lots of space was a mind adjustment. We gave away a lot of stuff, sold off some furniture and threw out all the dead wood. Most difficult of all was letting go of Rocky.  Losing the space meant losing our Rottweiler who needed that space. I am grateful that he has been re-homed and he is happy, but we still miss him of course.

But nothing: not a big house, not a fancy car, not all the yard space in the world, not the swimming pool… nothing is comparable to the peace of mind I’ve gained in moving closer to where we do life. I can’t believe we spent the last eight years travelling first from the Westrand and then from Midrand into Zone 1, as I call it. And this is not applicable to everyone either, if you are not governed by school times, peak hour traffic which is unavoidable, and your personality type is such that sitting in traffic doesn’t send you over the edge (God bless you), that’s great. But for me, this move has been life altering. I’m a better mother, wife and human for it.  And let me tell you, all those things that you think define who you are and what you’ve accomplished? All the niceties we think we cannot do without? I can vouch for the fact that there is absolute freedom in not being bound by those things which we think defines us.

What do you know, I even have more time to blog! Stay tuned to see how else I’ve downsized my thinking (not my dreams) and my life.

Tact. Full Disclosure.


I’ve had it on my heart to write about this for a while, but at the risk of putting myself out there or offending someone, I’ve kinda put it off. But now I think it’s time for full disclosure.

I’m a talk-now-think-later sort of person. I can run off at the mouth and very often later regret what I divulged. I’m impulsive and I generally say what I think. I don’t think this is cool. I don’t think it’s a great quality to possess. In fact, I think it’s quite off putting.

Don’t get me wrong. I am all for speaking your mind and “putting people in their place” when the situation calls for it. I’m all for honesty upfront and cards on the table and that bravado that let’s you call out bull dust as soon as you see it.

But. Tact.

Tact.

I believe that being able to guard your thoughts, being able to think something through in your mind, even if it’s just for 3 seconds before you spit it out, being able to hold back when your mind is  screaming at you to pounce… THAT right there is an art. And it’s called tact.

There are some people who have tact down to an art. My mother is one of these people. My mother has such a way of saying things that you cannot help but listen and obey. It’s incredible. She doesn’t shout. Ever. She doesn’t use big words or frighten you into action. She just chooses her words tactfully, her words soothe over you and have the right effect on the listener. Like she could tell you that you totally suck or that your hairstyle doesn’t suit you or that you are not a very nice person, without you being offended at all. And yet you would have absolutely gotten the message. It’s amazing.

There is power in the spoken word. Often HOW we say things is much more pertinent than the actual words we use. But the words we use also have the ability to make or break the intended message.

I am so tired of running my mouth. It’s like a bad hangover, when I wake up the next morning and I regret how I said something, or why I said something. And I replay the scene over and over again in my head and I analyse how I coulda/shoudla said it better. And then you are consumed with anxiety as to how that poor person on the receiving end is feeling. You see, we’ve all been on the other side. I think we’ve all been in a situation where someone has said really hurtful things to or about you, where the person has ripped your heart to shreds with the words spoken to or against you. Sometimes it’s in the heat of an argument and we think it’s OK, but long after the argument is over, the words remain. I don’t want to be that person. I don’t want to be the crass, ballsy, vitriol-spewing person that I know I can be.

And yes, there is a big difference between being loud, fun loving and the life of the party versus the person who always wants to be right, who’s opinion MUST be heard and who says whatever they feel with no holds barred. You see, I used to think I was the former, but often that line is blurred with the latter. And sometimes I don’t even know who I am. I do.not.want.to.be.the.latter.

So I’ve been praying about tact; believe me it’s a spiritual thing. I know this because I have tried/ I BEEN trying to work on it and still I can’t help but POUNCE. If I was an animal, I’d be Tigger from Winnie-the-Pooh: the ultimate POUNCER. Also, people in my circle have been dealing with word issues.. words said out of context / words that hurt / words WOrds WORDS that didn’t even NEED to be said but now it’s too late and those words are out there. I believe the world would be a better place if we all just developed a bit of tact. If the world didn’t view tact as a weakness, I think we’d be onto something. Because that’s what the world thinks, if you hold your tongue, if you allow other people to have their piece while you silently observe… you’re weak. And that could not be further from the truth.There is true strength, beauty and grace in saying what you have to say so that it does not demean, demerit or destruct the next person.  And it takes bravery to say what you have to say while keeping the hearer’s feelings paramount. Be brave.

It’s a journey of self discovery, I guess.

A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent. Proverbs 17: 27-28

This is my jam. And it says succinctly, what I’ve been trying to say in 835 words.

 

 

Raising my babies, while they raise me…

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