Versatile Blogger Award

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I know it sounds really cheesy, but I absolutely love all these awards. When I get tagged in one though, my mouth goes dry and my first thought is, ”Oh gosh, am I going to be able to do this one any justice?”

I overthink them. Because at the end of the day, it’s an honour that someone thought of me, and all they’re really asking is for me to be honest and share small pieces of me. So I really shouldn’t feel threatened, because we all know that I happily overshare ๐Ÿ˜›

This particular award stands for the following :

โ€œWhen you consider nominating a fellow blogger for the Versatile Blogger Award, consider the quality of the writing, the uniqueness of the subjects covered, the level of love displayed in the words on the virtual page. Or, of course, the quality of the photographs and the level of love displayed in the taking of them.โ€

And we all know how completely random I can be ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Rules:

Thank the person who nominated you.
Link to the blog of the person who nominated you.
Share 7 facts about yourself.
Nominate 15 more bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award.

A big thank you to jesusluvsall for the nomination – while the essence of his blog truly is about his faith and helping others, you can find a wide variety of everyday life there, from music to his struggles with chronic illness. Definitely worth taking a look ๐Ÿ˜‰

7 facts about me is actually quite difficult, because I overshare, so you know a lot anyway ๐Ÿ˜› I’m trying to come up with things you don’t know… and it’s tougher than I thought. So I popped off some messages to my friends (two of which are my neighbours) and asked them to tell me one thing about me that I could share. So here are their replies :

  1. I often send random messages to friends asking their opinion on something to do with me – in an effort to understand and grow. Like I have, out of the blue, asked before : please send me three good qualities you think I have, please send me three bad qualities you think I have, what would you say is my best physical feature, etc etc etc.
  2. I love to spend a cool afternoon, seated in the dirt, weeding my garden (but I don’t have a green thumb!!!).
  3. I greet pets before I greet their owners (first time I have actually realised that I DO do this….apparently it isn’t a problem…but I still feel a little bit guilty – I should probably be more conscious of that!)
  4. I have bitten my nails down to the quick since I was a child. I’ve only ever grown my own four times in my whole life…I don’t bite them as badly now, but when I do start to then I have to stick on falsies to get me out of the habit for a while.
  5. I’ve never seen snow in real life, and talk incessantly about wanting to experience a White Christmas, and I don’t just mention that at Christmas time, apparently.
  6. I am so obsessed with butterflies, and anything purple, that my friends think of me constantly when they see either thing. It makes me very easy to buy gifts for too ๐Ÿ˜‰ (My friend has a 7 year old son who calls me, ”Aunty Butterfly” ๐Ÿ™‚ )
  7. I don’t have tattoo’s, and the fact that I don’t desire to have any is apparently strange. (it’s not a biblical thing, I just don’t want them?) I got 4 messages back stating this fact, so clearly it makes me a little weird ๐Ÿ˜›

 

I am supposed to nominate 15 bloggers. I’m going to break the rules here. I’m nominating every person who takes the time to read my blog…. and you really need to check out the people who like and comment on my writing – they have very reading worthy material on their blogs. And although a lot of them try to stick to a theme, if you read their posts, you will see little bits of versatility in there ๐Ÿ˜‰

(Although not everyone overshares like I do ๐Ÿ˜› *covering my face with my hands*)

And then just for fun, I’m going to post a pic that I saw this morning and had a good giggle at :

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striving for seed-ship

I was introduced to someone new the other day.
“This is Meg, my friend that I was telling you about.”
Pretty standard introduction, although it usually somehow elicits the panicked thought, ”Uh oh! What exactly has been said?”

The reply was not standard.
”Ah, Meg… the seed.”

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Photo credit : quotes.yourdictionary.com

In that moment, I certainly felt that I had achieved genius status! I have a very expressive face and so I knew my confusion was evident, but I followed up with,
“Um….hi. Seed?”

Yeah, I know, really eloquent!

There was a slight shrug, and a knowing smile exchanged between my friend and the ‘new person’. Her reply knocked me off guard completely,

“I’ve been told that you’re a great encouragement and inspiration. That you’ve been through so much, and yet you continue to smile and spread love and kindness. Your friend here says that you’re the one she turns to when she needs joy.
My husband and I call those sorts of people ‘seeds’. Because they inspire and encourage growth.”

This morning, I saw a picture on Facebook and had to smile :

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Now I have to be honest here, I am sometimes a bad seed. Although I don’t quite fit this description!ย 
a person who is dishonest, evil, or unprincipled by natureย :ย an innately bad person

I’d be extremely dishonest though if I said that I have never had a moment of being any of the above. Worry and negativity creeps in every now and then, which messes with my character and sends my whole being into chaos. I then become frustrated/angry/disheartened/disillusioned and ‘act out’ because I am not in alignment with my core values.

And this is why I KNOW how very important it is to continuously be aware of, practice and educate ourselves to handle correctly whatever bad thing comes our way.ย 

The words that were spoken about me above definitely boosted my ego a bit – but they also spoke to my core being in a way that I very much needed at the time.
(And I have to stress that while they were lovely, and very true of my relationship with this friend because we’ve been in each others lives for 20+ years and that has always been my place in her life, I don’t think that everyone views me that way. In fact, Iย knowย that they don’t.)

So this is not a boasting moment.

Instead, it was actually a type of ‘wake up’ moment for me.

Do I want to inspire and encourage growth inย everyone I come into contact with? YES!
Am I doing that? Sadly, no…. not always and not everyone.
Can I change that? YES!

But it’s going to require courage and commitment. It’s going to mean hard work. It’s going to mean some pain. But this is an area I NEED to grow in. And so I have to accept all those things.

And I am not saying that I need to be perfect. It’s in my imperfections that I can actually inspire others – but I need to handle those imperfections correctly in order for them to achieve the purpose of helping others to grow – in their lives, in kindness and in love.

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Photo credit : bigcommerce.com

 

I want to be THAT beautiful!

really random

I’ve been quite absent the past few days, for numerous reasons.

One to celebrate was a dancing prize giving I attended for my daughter, where we also received her exam results from recent Hip Hop and Modern examinations. She scored highly in all 3 (having done two grades of Hip Hop in one year), achieving above 90%, and honours with distinction in all. She also received two trophies. I’m very pleased with her results, but can’t take any credit, other than the fact that I am the one who ensures she attends her classes ๐Ÿ˜›

My car has gone in for a service, and to fix brakes that were beginning to grind as if they too were taking part in a dance exam, with a partner ๐Ÿ˜› Hopefully it will be returned to me today. Don’t get me wrong, I love to walk, but personal safety trumps that love these days.

I’m exhausted this morning, and my pain levels are quite high, so attempting a meaningful blog post requires a lot more of me than I can give right now.
As I was leisurely going through the multitude of emails in my inbox that require my attention, I saw one that made me smile. And decided that that’s about all I can manage to post about today ๐Ÿ˜›

Did you know that today is World Fritter Day?

Here in South Africa, the most popular type is Pumpkin Fritters. You can find our recipe here, which is also where I got the picture from ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Different countries have different varieties, and of course what they call a fritter we usually have a different name for.

I was scrolling through the different types in various countries, and once again, the US has won my heart ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜‰
These apple fritters look like just what my stomach thinks it needs ๐Ÿ˜‰

(Emphasis on the thinks, because Iย know that it doesn’t…. but thoughts are always good.)

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Photo credit : foodwishes.blogspot.com

And I learnt something else this morning, besides all the delicious types of fritter that made me stomach rumble and reminded me that I still haven’t had breakfast ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m not too widely travelled, and admittedly my knowledge of the world map is relatively limited. While I have heard of Borneo, I have never heard of Brunei – and their fritters were featured. In Brunei, they call fritters ”cucur”, and they’re usually made with banana, shrimp, yam, sweet potatoes and vegetables. Apparently it is very popular street food. They look delicious – probably more like what we’d call dumplings here though….

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While reading up on Brunei, I think the thing that made me happiest was when I discovered that it was the first country in Asia to ban shark finning. Good for them. I love sharks ๐Ÿ˜‰

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And that’s total randomness for you all ๐Ÿ˜‰

Happy Monday ๐Ÿ™‚

 

funny fat stuff

 

Sing with me…..

 

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The above was sent to me by my friend of 20+ years. She knew I would appreciate the humour in it. And of course I do….even though some of it is true for me ๐Ÿ˜›

I discovered recently that I have a very toxic relationship that I am truly struggling to let go of – the relationship I have with my body. It’s a recent discovery for me because I have never viewed my poor physical self image in this light. It truly is a ‘woman thing’ (although, sorry girls, we’re not exclusive! There are men who suffer too!) – we all experience it at some stage or another. But my stage has lasted way too long. For me, it is linked to what can only be described as emotional baggage – a culmination of negativity, lack of support, stressful events and criticism dating back to childhood. The result was poor self esteem in every area of my life. And while I am managing quite successfully to learn lessons and grow in all other areas in a positive way, I am still struggling with this one thing – my body.

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And I have to admit that the funny image above carries with it a semblance of truth – because I have alwaysย felt fat, fussing over finding something to wear that doesn’t make me look it has never been an issue.

Strangely enough, this has never sent me along the path of having an eating disorder. And I am truly grateful for that.

But it is still an unhealthy obsession to have, and it is definitely a toxic relationship to be in. It’s understandable when your body is quitting on you due to ill health – my body is slowly giving in to a variety of health issues, and so to be upset with it for that reason still carries a small amount of justification. But to be mad at my body because of fat? Well, that’s just ludicrous! Because my fat is not entirely owing to medical issues.

And here’s the really funny part….. I’m actually only 10 kilos (22 pounds) ”overweight”.
Before my daughter was born, I was at what I thought was MY perfect goal weight – 55kg’s (121 pounds). It was my perception of what ‘looking good’ would be for me. No big surprise that even then I was critical of my body, claiming that I was still too fat. *rolling my eyes here*
Last week I found a photo of my son and I from those days, and I was horrified. And my children agreed… I lookedย terrible!!!! That ‘thin’ me didn’t suit me at all. My body looked great, but my face looked gaunt and drawn – I looked ill! It gave me some perspective.

I’m not designed to have a body like all the other ladies I want to look like, because it doesn’t suit my face!ย 

Yesterday I read this quote by JK Rowling : โ€œIs ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than ‘vindictive’, ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’, ‘boring’ or ‘cruel’? Not to me.โ€

I’ve read it before – a few times, actually. I think that the self growth journey I have been on and working so hard at in recent years may be starting to influence my body image too, because yesterday the words finally made sense deep within me. As I stared down at the tyre tube formed in the place that used to be my waist, a new appreciation in my spirit formed.

Summer is here and I have a built in flotation device for swimming! ๐Ÿ˜›

Okay so, no, that wasย not the appreciation.

This morning it was confirmed for me : I need to at least try to,ย in everything, practice what I preach. I can’t keep pushing, ”you’re beautiful on the inside and that’s all that counts”, when I lack appreciation for that in myself.

The world will always make me feel physically inferior, for as long as I keep allowing it to make me compare my physical attributes to others.ย ย 

My physical body is not my character – who cares if I am known for having a stunning figure? Does it really matter that much to me that I have a great figure if my character is ugly? In all honesty?
NOT AT ALL!

Most important to me is to be known for my heart.

And from personal experience (mentioned above when my body looked great) I also know that no matter what my body looks like, I won’t be satisfied. I really need to end this toxic relationship – so yes, I’ll be looking for ways to do that….if you have tips and tricks, feel free to leave them in the comments.

I ALSO KNOW THAT….

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Two babies, actually ๐Ÿ˜›

Health and age may be motivating factors for the extra pounds piling on…. but I have to takeย some form of responsibility too! I don’t exercise enough, and although I try and eat healthy I also have a tendency to give into tasty temptation a little too often. And I definitely need to change that!

While self care and self reflection in an effort to grow and build positive character will always be of the utmost importance to me, I need to remember that there should always be a form of balance – and physical me needs attention too (and not just for appearances sake).

But then again…. there’s always this ๐Ÿ˜› :

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Thanksgiving Thursday

It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

In my country we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. There is, however, an awareness of it – probably most of the credit for that going to the wide variety of American movies we feast our eyes on.
(Up until a few years ago, Halloween wasn’t really acknowledged either – and then suddenly our shops were filled with the decor! There is still no official trick or treating though, because of huge safety concerns.)

But because I have an American spirit ๐Ÿ˜‰ it is a holiday I have always acknowledged in my house. Not fully – because there is no such thing as Thanksgiving decor or meals… but I make an effort and make something of my own. We have never tried pumpkin pie though – mostly because my children refuse, so I’ve never bothered with making it. This year, in celebration of this special day, I shall. And although I will force feed a teaspoon of it to each, I am almost certain that my all my meals today will be pumpkin pie – pretty much the entire thing for only my consumption ๐Ÿ˜›

What you may find interesting to know is that South Africans have only recently jumped into the Black Friday traditions. I think it was about ten years ago when I first heard of Black Friday – and I’ll admit it, I thought it was to do with racism. ๐Ÿ˜› I had no knowledge of what it entailed and so that was my first reaction. After some discussion, I understood more and knew better, and so when it arrived in SA I wasn’t outraged like many others.

Black Friday only became ‘a thing’ here about four years ago. Our deals are nowhere near as good as those overseas though. So far, it’s been relatively successful for retailers, and an absolute nightmare for consumers. In a third world country where most things very seldom ‘work’, overpopulation is a problem and crime rates are exceptionally high, Black Friday is now another day where ‘the bad stuff’ just escalates alarmingly. Add to that the pressure of our failed economy and most people having so little and being after deals for survival, it’s more than the usual reported US chaos. It’s no surprise to me that non perishable foods are apparently at the highest percentage when it comes to sales here.

My children are caught up in the hype and buzz, and both wish we had an abundance of money to spend on all the sales – because, ‘we can save 30%’ if we shop tomorrow, Mom’! To which I usually reply,

“We can save 100% if we just stay at home, and don’t visit any online sales.” ๐Ÿ˜›

But back to Thanksgiving….

I found this story and I wanted to share it, because it speaks to my heart and as you should know by now is very much in keeping with the way I feel generally :

When Mrs. Klein told her first graders to draw a picture of something for which they were thankful, she thought how little these children, who lived in a deteriorating neighborhood, actually had to be thankful for. She knew that most of the class would draw pictures of turkeys or of bountifully laden Thanksgiving tables. That was what they believed was expected of them.

What took Mrs. Klein aback was Douglasโ€™s picture. Douglas was so forlorn and likely to be found close in her shadow as they went outside for recess. Douglasโ€™s drawing was simply this:

A hand, obviously, but whose hand? The class was captivated by his image. โ€œI think it must be the hand of God that brings us food,โ€ said one student.

โ€œA farmer,โ€ said another, โ€œbecause they grow the turkeys.โ€

โ€œIt looks more like a policeman, and they protect us.โ€ โ€œI think,โ€ said Lavinia, who was always so serious, โ€œthat it is supposed to be all the hands that help us, but Douglas could only draw one of them.โ€

Mrs. Klein had almost forgotten Douglas in her pleasure at finding the class so responsive. When she had the others at work on another project, she bent over his desk and asked whose hand it was.

Douglas mumbled, โ€œItโ€™s yours, Teacher.โ€

Then Mrs. Klein recalled that she had taken Douglas by the hand from time to time; she often did that with the children. But that it should have meant so much to Douglas โ€ฆ

Perhaps, she reflected, this was her Thanksgiving, and everybodyโ€™s Thanksgivingโ€”not the material things given unto us, but the small ways that we give something to others.

Readers Digest

Here’s wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving, and plenty of pumpkin pie.

But most importantly, I wish you the opportunities to share and care, to express kindness and love, and to be the recipient of sharing, caring, kindness and love too.

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Photo credit : oprahmag.com

Sunshine Blogger Double Whammy

Right, so…

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I got nominated for this award twice, pretty much on the same day ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m so grateful that others find material worth reading on my blog ๐Ÿ˜‰ and that they’d like to share me with the world out there ๐Ÿ™‚ I always get really nervous with these kinds of things, but I’m going to attempt to ‘do it right’ ๐Ÿ˜‰

Sunshine Blogger Award Rules

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blogging site.
  2. List the Sunshine Blogger Award rules and display the logo on your site.
  3. Answer the Sunshine Blogger Award questions.
  4. Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
  5. Notify the nominees about their nominations.

As I mentioned, I got the award twice. So I’ll try and keep my answers short…but be warned, this will be a long read…. and you’ll know far too much about me by the end. So not really much different to my other blog posts ๐Ÿ˜›

FIRST NOMINATION :

Thank you to My Forty Something Life for the nomination. If you’re forty something, it’s definitely worth checking the blog out. I’m even tempted to try Yoga ๐Ÿ˜‰

The questions (and my answers) to that nomination are as follows :

  1. Why do you blog?ย To reach out to others and hopefully connect, because I love to write, to try and make a difference with my voice, to be an encouragement
  2. If you were stuck up a tree for an hour or twoโ€ฆwhat would you do?ย Just sit and appreciate the view. I don’t get a whole lot of ‘down time’, so it would be a special moment for me ๐Ÿ˜‰
  3. What is the funniest thing you heard today?ย No one else is awake yet, but I read this and it made me laugh : ”Here, I bought you a calendar. Your days are numbered now.” ๐Ÿ˜›
  4. What makes you smile on a regular basis?ย Pretty much everything ๐Ÿ˜‰
  5. What is the one (or two if you must) thing you canโ€™t live without?ย Air ๐Ÿ˜›
  6. Whoโ€™s blog do you read that you recommend to us all (it doesnโ€™t even have to be someone you nominate)?ย Uh….that kinda puts me on the spot, doesn’t it? ๐Ÿ˜› I always visit Dr. Eric Perry, PhD – he’s a very popular clinical psychologist, and I like to read his views on things. But that’s also because I am kinda nutty about all things psychology related ๐Ÿ˜›
  7. What kind of soup would most reflect you as a person? Alphabet Soup ๐Ÿ˜›
  8. What is your favourite TV show right now?ย A really old one which I am revisiting – and still loving ๐Ÿ˜‰ Full House My daughter is loving it, but I think John Stamos has a lot to do with that ๐Ÿ˜› For once her and I agree on a ‘nice looking man’ ๐Ÿ˜›
  9. If you have a spare ยฃ100 in your wallet / purseโ€ฆwhat does it get spent on?ย A random stranger/beggar and my children (human and fur)
  10. What was your favourite childrenโ€™s show growing upโ€ฆcan you remember the theme tuneโ€ฆare you now singing it?ย UGH! YES! (Thanks for that ๐Ÿ˜› ) Good old Barney.

SECOND NOMINATION :

Thank you to Jesusluvsall for your nomination ๐Ÿ™‚ A man of faith who lives his life serving others, and that’s more than blog worthy ๐Ÿ˜‰

The questions (and my answers) to that nomination are as follows :

  1. If Jesus were to knock on your door, what would you think?ย If He knocked, then I probably wouldn’t actually know it was Him till I opened it, so my thought upon hearing the knock would be, “Who needs me?”
  2. This week is Thanksgiving Week in the USA. What are you thankful for?ย In all honesty, everything. Even the difficult times and difficult people I encounter. And yes, I AM being honest. Sure, it makes me tired, and I get hurt. But I learn along the way. And it makes me different, and better.
  3. Where would you like to travel to in the world.ย I gave the long answer here. The short one is USA!!!!
  4. What is your favorite snack food?ย salty crackers and a variety of cheeses ๐Ÿ˜‰
  5. Do snack while you blog?ย No. But I do drink copious amounts of coffee ๐Ÿ˜›
  6. What is your favorite season and why?ย Winter, winter and winter ๐Ÿ˜› Yes, I live at the coast in sunny South Africa, so our winters are never colder than about 40 degrees F – and I was told for years that that’s why I love Winter. Then I went to the UK and faced a different kind of cold – ‘proper’ cold. And I still thrived in it. And that’s why I love Winter – I thrive in cold and gloomy weather. Strange, but true. While others just want to stay in bed, all toasty and warm, I am at my most productive when it’s cold. In our Summer heat, with high percentages of humidity, and no air conditioning, I just don’t get anything done. My energy is sapped and those are the days where I am the one who would rather just be on my bed ๐Ÿ˜› I also exercise a lot more in Winter – not because I am preparing for a ‘Summer body’, NOT AT ALL. But simply because those are days where I actually have the energy to do so!
  7. What book has meant something to you lately?ย Kathryn Cushman’s ‘Waiting for Daybreak’.ย Not the type of book I usually read – if I’m not reading crime thriller murder mystery, then I am reading self help/growth books. But something made me pull this one out of my bookshelf. It was a gift from a friend who passed away last year – I never read it when she gave it to me. I’ve only read it recently, at a time when I needed it most. Amazing how things like that happen, isn’t it ๐Ÿ˜‰
  8. Who is your favorite singer?ย No. Just no. Because I have too many ๐Ÿ˜›
  9. What is a favorite blog post of yours? Share a linkย Mine personally? One I have written? Hmmmm….. I have a few – and they’re all about where I live. I have linked them to each other, sort of. But please read them – a great guide to South Africa ๐Ÿ˜‰ Mostly the differences between here and the US. And it will also explain my spelling ๐Ÿ˜› One of a Kind; Can you speak American? (highly recommended ๐Ÿ˜› ) and South Africa’s Tummy
  10. I am a disaster cooking in the kitchen. Would you trust me in your kitchen?ย Yes. Because I think it would be fun ๐Ÿ˜‰
  11. What movie have you seen recently that you liked?ย Nothing new, I’m afraid. I watched ‘You’ve got Mail’ for the umpteenth time the other night – it’s a firm favourite with me because one of my dreams is to own a bookstore exactly like Meg Ryan’s in the movie ๐Ÿ˜‰ (I don’t usually watch romance, so yes, it really is all about the books ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

And that’s all folks ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now for my nominees (you do not have to participate). Their questions will follow :

Winning 40
Rest and Chaos
millenniallifecrisis
Fractured Faith
Cynthia D. Griffin
Encouraging Grace
The Happiness Nerd
Fun with Philosophy
Herry Chic Counsels
juantetcts
Paul – A life worth giving

Your questions (total randomness):

  1. What is your favourite quote?
  2. If you could share a brief word of encouragement with someone, what would you say?
  3. Do you like to ‘dress up’?
  4. Are you an animal lover? If yes, favourite animal?
  5. What do you think is your best physical feature?
  6. If you could ask your president/ruler of your country one question, what would it be?
  7. If you could visit only one place anywhere in the world, where would it be, and why?
  8. Coffee, tea, or neither one?
  9. Pizza, cheeseburger, or salad?
  10. Sweet or savoury?
  11. If you could be good at one sport, which one would you choose and why?

If you made it through, thanks for reading ๐Ÿ˜‰

Barnabas Award Encouragement

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The way this works: Thank the person who nominated you, and share their blog. Think of five bloggers that encourage and inspire you and nominate them. List five things about yourself. Lastly, ask your nominees five questions. Why five? Because five is the number that signifies grace.

So yes, I was nominated for this award – last week actually. I’m only getting to it now because it was one that really made me think! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Thank you to herrychiccounsels for the nomination. She writes a spirit led blog that is a blessing for all with regards to the Christian walk.

Five things about me? Hmmmm. It’s tough, because I am not sure where to go with this one ๐Ÿ˜› Okay, here are some random bits and pieces…

  1. I am not a beach baby. (or even a beach babe ๐Ÿ˜› ) I have lived, for the majority of my life, on the coast. The beach has always been 10 minutes walk away. And I think that is why it’s not a major attraction for me. Please don’t get me wrong – I love the crashing waves and still see the beauty in the beach – I like to sit and watch the ocean and can do so for hours when there are whales or dolphins playing. And a walk along the river with the sand between my toes on a cool evening is definitely a happy activity for me. And yes, I enjoy a good swim in the ocean if the beach is almost deserted ๐Ÿ˜›
    But to tell me we’re packing a picnic and heading to the beach for the morning brings an onset of exhaustion and I will cancel on you ๐Ÿ˜›
    I’m a mountains, forest, waterfalls kind of girl. My picture perfect retirement would be a log cabin on a lake with a view of mountains and hills, and a waterfall nearby – somewhere in America ๐Ÿ˜‰
  2. My daughter was born next to me bed at home. Yes, I had a home birth, with a midwife. At the time it was a very unusual occurrence here in South Africa, and not an option I would have dared to choose if it hadn’t been for the circumstances at the time. Thankfully, it all went well, and although it was extremely difficult and stressful, it was a great experience. There was no water birth, or anything quite that interesting…but having to boil a pot of water for the midwife’s instruments was definitely ‘far out’ for me. ๐Ÿ˜‰
  3. I am a creative individual. Other than writing, I also love to paint. Ornaments, blank canvases, fabric. I like to paint, decorate and create various home decor items – photo frames, small storage crates, bottles, tins, etc.
  4. My birth name is Megan – but I prefer to be called the shortened version, “Meg”. Megan is the angry version ๐Ÿ˜› I have many nicknames from friends : “Meggie Pegs, Megs, Eggie, NutMeg, Megster, Mega and Smiley. Smiley is not adapted from my name, obviously ๐Ÿ˜› It’s actually the name I have been given by staff members in all the shops I frequent – either Smiley, or Butterfly Lady. I love butterflies, and usually wear at least one form of one – earrings, bracelet, top, scarf etc.
  5. I love to sing, and I am the strange person you will see in traffic, playing drums on my steering wheel singing away to my hearts content, possibly even attempting a few dance moves ๐Ÿ˜›

NOMINEES QUESTIONS AND MY ANSWERSย 

  1. Are you an affectionate person?ย Yes! I love to hug ๐Ÿ™‚ I am physically affectionate in a nurturing kind of way ๐Ÿ˜‰
  2. Have you ever done something ‘physically daring and adventurous’?ย I have never tried bungee jumping or skydiving. And I have no desire to do either. I have never attempted white water rafting, but it’s something I might like to try…although my neck and back injuries may make that a little too risky. I still like the thought of trying though ๐Ÿ˜› When I was younger, I did a hike up to a waterfall and abseiled down to the bottom again – and then I tried rock climbing back up. I loved it, but it’s not something I’d try now…unless I can get back into shape.
    I do, however, think that a homebirth with no drugs counts in this category though ๐Ÿ˜›
  3. What do you think is the biggest problem facing our world today?ย I could drone on and on because the list is long. But when I look through that list, the thing that stands out and seems to connect the dots for me is the growing lack of human compassion ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
  4. What does encouragement mean to you? What is it that people do to make you feel encouraged?ย For me, personally, it comes back to my love languages. I wrote a contributors post about that here if you’re keen to check yours out ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I have always known, but the quiz was confirmation, that I am greatly encouraged by words of affirmation. (The 5 love languages are not just applicable to romantic love.) Compliments and praise don’t boost my ego and produce a big head – they’re an encouragement for me and also inspire and motivate me to do better and be better. Physical touch is my top love language, and so it’s no surprise that when someone hugs me or touches my arm in appreciation, that that is my greatest source of encouragement. But just a message, or phone call, where words of affirmation are said, is of very great encouragement to me! And because physical touch is not always possible, I think that when it comes to me feeling encouraged, words of affirmation take precedence ๐Ÿ˜‰
  5. What is the worst gift you have ever received?ย This one goes back to childhood – it was my birthday, a whole 10 years old. Double digits – my older brother’s card read that now I had double responsibility. *rolling my eyes* But the worst gift was the one from my other brother….
    I definitely see the funny side of it now, and with adulthood has come an appreciation for his sense of humor because I’ve discovered that we’re a lot alike. He’s 9 years older than me though, and so his incessant teasing in my younger years was not fully appreciated ๐Ÿ˜›
    When I turned 10, he gave me a box of throat lozenges. The card said, “Because you’re a pain in the neck.”
    I laugh SO MUCH now when I think of it. But as a 10 year old I was devastated ๐Ÿ˜›

As you know, I don’t usually tag anyone in these things…. but today I am going to. Please DO NOT feel that there is any pressure for you to comply. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I can only tag five, and if I don’t tag you please know this : in no way am I saying that you’re not an inspiration or encouragement to me. NOT. AT. ALL. Because every blog I read and follow most certainly gives back to me, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing so in the first place.

I AM VERY GRATEFUL FOR ALL OF YOU

But today I tag :

Paul’s Blog

Willing Yourself to Win

Love Never Fails

Beautifully Restored

Imagination Salvation

thrown away

Today my dad turns 75. He’s still alive, but he lives in another country and I only get to see him every three years or so. I am not so sure we will get to see him again – he’s ill, and so the long distance travel may not be possible for him again. And for three of us to go to him, well, there just aren’t the finances. I tear up every time I think of the day I will get that phone call to say that he is gone. But I have peace. Because Daddy and I made peace a long time ago.
He was an absent father for the most part, but it was through no fault of his own. Long story’s that will no doubt come out in dribs and drabs in the blogging world ๐Ÿ˜‰
While the opportunities were not always there for him….
….I KNOW that I have a father who loves me dearly. And I can’t think of a better dad to have been blessed with – better circumstances, perhaps – but not a different daddy.
He is not perfect – not at all. He has many faults and has made his fair share of mistakes. But my imperfect daddy is the one who loves me perfectly, as do I him.

Despite his forced absence, I am a lot like my dad in many ways. And the little bits of time that we got to spend together in my growing years ignited my passion for reading. (My stepmom says I am a carbon copy of him, and laughs at us both when we roll our eyes at the thought of a shopping centre – we’d rather be sitting at home on the couch, side-by-side, reading ๐Ÿ˜› ) My dad also has a really corny sense of humour, so that may be where my appreciation for that comes from too ๐Ÿ˜›
“Look Meg, a graveyard. It’s the dead centre of town and very popular. Everyone’s dying to go there.” *groan* *laugh*
Something else I loved doing with dad was road trips. We didn’t do many, but I liked his music (his taste was varied) and the fact that he’d let me turn the volume all the way up ๐Ÿ˜‰

When I think of dad and road trips, I am always reminded of one song in particular. While we have a wide variety of shared favourites, this one seems to cry from my heart and soul, time and time again. I couldn’t find a version of it on YouTube to share (although there is a cover), and there is a lot of judgmental stuff that has happened with the singer since my teen years. But it certainly changes nothing of the words and their meaning to me :

Grandpa and me, every week or so
We’d go walking down a country road
Looking for something
Others drove right past
Maybe they were late
And they were dogging the throttle
Maybe they just
Didn’t notice the bottles
Shining like diamonds in the grass
We would pick them up
And we’d cash ’em in
He’d look at me and Id look at him
And he’d say

CHORUS: Thrown away
Can you believe the things
They toss aside
And leave em where they lay? Oh, but they can be saved
If you will take the time
And try to find the good
Along the way
Oh, what this world throws away

Many years later

When my age had doubled
I met a man and his name was Trouble
He said, Son, I’ll give you some advice
A family is fine
And there’s a time you need them
But sure enough there will come
A time to leave em
You know you only get one life
He was a lonely man
Without a single friend
He looked at me and I looked at him
And I said,
CHORUS
And maybe someday

When the little ones have grown
I may have a grandchild of my own
And if I do, I can promise you
One day we’ll walk down a country road
CHORUS

We’re such a throw away society. Immediate gratification, or there’s no benefit at all. No longer mending what’s broken – not even trying. We just ‘throw it away’ and move on, and think nothing of it.

People are not disposable. And neither are relationships – family, friends, romantic.

Instead of just being honest and telling the truth, we ghost people.

Instead of discussing what might/may have gone wrong, we stay offended.

Instead of talking things through in an attempt to salvage relationships, we go quiet (withdraw/disconnect).

And then we complain that no one understands, and nobody knows us.

NO ONE CAN KNOW, IF YOU DON’T TELL THEM.

PEOPLE = EFFORT

And since no one is perfect (including you and me) the effort required is that much greater!

But taking the time to talk things through, to listen, to share your heart is a lot more rewarding than carrying around the burden of negativity surrounding cutting others off, offense and withdrawal.

Walking around with anger and hurt in our hearts does not make us better, it just make us bitter.

And yes, there are circumstances where some of the above doesn’t apply, where all options have been exhausted and it’s time to move on.

I’ve had my moments where moving on meant ‘having the last say’ and I had to make sure that that person knew that I thought they were trash. My anger and emotional immaturity hurt everyone, including me.
One of the most difficult lessons for me (that I am still occasionally having to learn, because I am not perfect), is not to throw anyone away.ย 
I still get hurt, and I still get angry. People still sometimes treat me in a way I don’t deserve (although sometimes when I reflect on it, I realise that perhaps my action/words may have had something to do with that, and I have to eat humble pie).

People will hurt us. People will make us angry. Sometimes we’re justified. Sometimes we’re not. At all times we should try and be better and not bitter. At all times we should try to reflect the same character we expect of others, whether they deserve it or not.

Because we’re not perfect. And when we hurt someone or make them angry, we don’t want to be made to feel that we belong on a trash pile.

 

I Need A Man

So now that I have your attention *ahem* it’s not what you think ๐Ÿ˜›

  1. There is a plug that needs changing in my house
  2. I am not a useless woman

While I am great at dangling precariously from ladders to change light bulbs in my ridiculously high ceilings (it doesn’t help that I am quite short), and while I have managed to fix my drainpipe with some ‘super tape’ and loads of instructions from the guy at the hardware store; I have never learnt to change a plug.

Google is great, and I know Iย could learn. But I don’t want to.

You see, I don’t mind being a woman. Or actually even being considered ”useless”, to a point. While I agree that feminists have it right in some aspects, I’m not a great advocate for feminism as such. I actuallyย like the fact that there are some things that men ‘are supposed to’ do.

Society is very different these days. As are the general opinions. And we’re all raised different ways. I was raised that the man is the head of the home, so long as he submits himself to God. (Yip, Christian upbringing – which came with its own trials and tribulations) I was raised in such a way that the man was the provider, and the protector. That it was his responsibility to carry the burdens of the household. And in a lot of ways, I view that as correct, and possibly incorrect. But…

My own experience may have warped that thinking all together.

When my son was eight and a half, and my daughter was just twenty months, I became a single mom in every sense of the word. I initiated it because there were no longer any other options available to me – unless I was ready to welcome death. Full on parenthood of both sexes was NOT on my agenda, however. Long story short, after failing at every other option he thought was available to him, he settled on, ”If you divorce me, I will never see the children again and you will suffer for it.” And no amount of counselling or help changed his mind. So at those young ages, that was the last time my children heard from and saw their father.

And suddenlyย everything wasย my responsibility. There were no weekends off, and co-parenting was non-existent. At that stage in my life, I was pretty clueless about a lot of things because I had always been a girly-girl. I had to learn about home maintenance in a hurry, and how to be a good mom, and dad. Discipline became that much more difficult, as did dealing with all the emotions of both genders of children. I was now the sole breadwinner, provider and protector in every sense of the word (I never got maintenance out of him – long story, big battle). He passed away last year and there was nothing for either of the children. In fact, I heard of his passing purely by accident. Such is life.

It took four years to get back in the dating game. It was a disaster. I don’t blame the men entirely – I had done divorce recovery courses, but I wasn’t healed…not that I knew that at the time. I made a lot of mistakes in those dating years, and I paid dearly with the last one, because I had never fully healed.ย 

I had to pay a huge price for it, but finally full healing began. That intense pain and traumatic experience was the catalyst for mind blowing change, and a form of rebirth. Proof that evenย the most negative experiences can have very positive outcomes!

Anyway… when my daughter was 10, I was asked on a date by an attractive man I had got to know through friends. And for the first time in a long time, I found myself actually considering it. My son was non-committal when it came to his opinion on this – he didn’t mind either way, apparently. My daughter was rather vocal.

“But you don’t need to date anyone, we’re perfect like we are. We don’t need anyone else.”

The full impact of her words never hit me till later, even though for years my children had been giving me Mothers AND Fathers Day cards filled with appreciation.
I actually wasn’t failing them the way I thought I was – I wasn’t a struggling single mom. They were happy and secure despite the fact that they only had me.

I rejoined the dating world anyway, and BOY, HAD IT CHANGED! I made it through first dates just fine, and always got a second one. But there was never a third. Completely my own fault. And yes, here it comes….
some brutal honesty regarding a taboo subject : S E X.ย 
There seems to be this trend that when you’re a mature adult, you’re considered a consenting adult, and none of the normal rules of dating apply. Thus the expectation of an exchange of bodily fluids by date number three. UGH! What?!?!?!

(While I have no issue with the exchange itself and have always found it rather enjoyable, I am very much a relationship kind of girl and stuff like that needs to wait. Sorry fellas!)

(side note : not all men are like this – I just haven’t found the ones I have come into physical contact with to be different.)

When discussing this with a close girl friend, who has been in a committed relationship for over four years now after going through her own divorce and jumping back on the bandwagon a little faster than me, she suggested to me that possibly I was meeting the wrong type of men. It was a subtle hint from her to focus only on good Christian men.

Now, let me very clear. THE GOOD GUYS ARE OUT THERE! Do not, for one moment, in your never ending frustrations at not being able to find a mate, doubt that THERE ARE STILL GREAT MEN in this world!

Imagine how disheartened my friend was (as was I at the time) when I shared with her that one of those ‘no third date’ guys was the attractive man that I had spent ages getting to know and called a friend – excited for the possibilities – who happened to be a man who was studying to be a pastor. Sigh.

So I came up with a new motto at that time, about three years ago :

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And what a journey that was! The sudden acceptance of the fact that I was single taught me more things than any romantic relationship ever could. Acceptance brought about a change in my attitude. And it provided me with the time to explore my emotions, my mind, my heart. That exploration was not always pretty – there were some very ugly truths that I needed to accept about myself, and dealing with them – learning about them and changing them – was HARD! My childhood and past left me with this ‘lonely’ feeling much of the time – but I discovered that being alone didn’t mean I had to be lonely.ย 

And I discovered that in order to be able to give of myself to anyone, I needed to actually KNOW myself, and love me for what I knew.

(I still fall short with typical female rants of, ”I’m too fat”; “I’m not pretty enough” etc. But not to the degree where I dislike myself like I used to – it’s more of a laughable, ”I’m such a woman” thing ๐Ÿ˜› )

AND THEN…

The other day I was scrolling through my newsfeed on Facebook, and came across a friend of mine who had played one of those OMG games. Apparently Santa is bringing her ‘the perfect man’ for Christmas. Her caption was, of course, ”Yes please”!

LIGHT BULB MOMENT! (must be the one I changed in the bathroom last week ๐Ÿ˜› )

Now we all know that NO ONE is perfect.ย But I think when people speak of a perfect situation, or the perfect partner for them etc. it’s basically their own personal perception of perfect. And so I don’t criticise my friends when they tell me they have found ‘the perfect man’, because in their perception that may very well be exactly what theyย have found, for them.

And that got me thinking about MY ‘perfect’ man. And something popped (broken light bulb that needs fixing) in to my head :

My perception of perfection may be what I WANT, but it may not be what I NEED!

In getting to know myself I have learnt that there are a lot of things that I want for life, and from life, but they’re not always the things/tools/equipment that I actually NEED for life. I am continuously given moments where I learn that annoying fact. It’s annoying because I don’t like to be wrong. I like things to be clear and concise.

And this suddenly became an epiphany for me on romance.

I can have my list of all the things that I want in a man. I can seek him out, or check items off the list when he somehow finds me. But at the end of the day, those are things Iย wantย and because I am continuously growing and learning, they may not actually be things Iย need. (And here’s where my Christianity comes into play) God knows what I NEED and in His time, he’ll provide it. And He’ll provide me with discernment with regards to that – I just need to keep asking!

When I shared this with a friend yesterday, she was discouraged by my views. I thought I was being quite positive. I shared the above with her, and ended with, “So if it means I spend the rest of my life single, I’m actually really okay with that.” And I really am. I can’t explain it. I just am.

I am not closing myself off to the potential of a future romantic relationship. I am not inย  state of lonely depression. I am not shutting myself off and withdrawing to an unlit room – I know how to change a lightbulb ๐Ÿ˜›

But I am also not going to chase after whatย I want, because even in my successes with regards to getting to know myself, what I want may not actually be whatย I need. So I’m leaving it up to Him.

dating-affirmations

For now it might have to just be my dog – but if you knew my dog, you’d understand that he’s worth it ๐Ÿ˜›

It might always just be the air – but for the chance to wake up each morning to a new day, and have the love of my life only being the breath that I take – well, that’s pretty much worth it too ๐Ÿ™‚

Goodness, this really was a post of ‘relationship randomness’. Here’s hoping someone got something out of it…even if only just a good giggle somewhere along the way ๐Ÿ˜‰

Stormy Disasters

I don’t mean to downplay the effects of natural disasters – but when I saw this I have to admit that I DID laugh, and my next thought was, ”Actually, that’s pretty clever”!

thefunnybeaver.com

My daughter is extremely fascinated by natural disasters. They started learning about them in geography a few years ago, and it’s a topic that has interested her ever since. Up until about a year ago, she wasn’t really aware of the devastating effects that they can have – and then she discovered movies about earthquakes and volcano eruptions, and that changed. (We don’t really experience natural disasters here.)

The thing about these disasters, and storms, is that they’re rather unpredictable. There is only so much man can calculate – the rest is left to ‘nature’.

I love storms. That’s something we get A LOT of – full on, electric thunderstorms! In fact, lightning related deaths around here are four times higher than the global average. And I actually have a friend who was struck by lightning, and after hours of surgery and skin grafts has the scars to prove it on her body, and is alive to tell the tale – thank goodness!

I love to sit out on the porch (undercover, of course) and see the brilliant electric sparks of the lightning, and hear the deep booming crackle of the thunder. It’s a powerful phenomenon that never ceases to amaze me. And then there’s also the rain – unpredictable too – because some days there’s a whole lot of noise and spectacular sky for just a few gentle drops. We’re edging into Summer here, and that will no doubt bring us hail storms. Those days, I have to stay inside with my dogs – they’re not afraid! Those silly, furry kids of mine want to play with the balls falling from the sky ๐Ÿ˜›

While I get overly enthusiastic about stormy weather, it’s always been a struggle to be that way with the storms of life. (Yes, you knew where I was headed ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) And then one day I really thought about those storms that come into my life – sometimes out of nowhere – and something in my perspective shifted. So today, I’d like to share those thoughts with you.

1b81baedb7004df66edcf038f7cc2ec8

Photo credit : boomsumo.com

When my children were young, I spent a lot of time reassuring them that all was okay and that the storm would eventually pass. I spent a lot of time having to calm them.ย And I guess that’s the thing with storms in life. They happen. We can’t always control them. But we need to keep ourselves calm in their duration. And while their duration may be a little too lengthy for our liking, they will end. And yes, perhaps there will be another one directly thereafter – we don’t know what the future holds, or how many are heading our way. And sometimes it’s more of the same type of storm. But each one does have an end. Being calm for its duration helps.

there-is-no-need-to-suffer-silently-and-there-is-no-shame-in-seeking-help-quote-1

Shelter from the storm is important. Especially when it’s raging. It’s no good holding things in and going it alone – have the courage to turn to others that you feel you can trust and ask them to help shelter you in whatever means you deem necessary : with prayer, encouragement and support.

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It’s easy to get caught up in the despair of the storm that is brewing or raging. It’s easy to experience a multitude of negative emotions overlapping and consuming us. It’s NOT so easy to pause in the midst of the storm and reflect on what is actually happening. But it’s important. If we can acknowledge and recognise the cause, we can equip ourselves with the tools to outlast it. We can learn from them – and the outcome is usually linked to helping someone else later down the road. Sometimes they’re a test, sometimes they’re to show us what we need to change within ourselves, sometimes they’re there to take us out of our comfort zones and develop our character – no wonder they’re not enjoyable!ย 

But most important of all :

1200-578801320-be-kind-to-yourself

Photo credit : quotabulary.com

Being caught up in a storm is difficult. Rest when you need to. Fuel your body and your mind. Be attentive to your needs. Remember that you’ll never speak to anyone more than you speak to yourself in your head, so be kind!

AND….

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