Writers! Fifteen Days Left to Win $150

Just in case my few readers haven’t heard about this, it might be worth your while to have a look. You’re all incredibly talented writers, the evidence of which is contained in all your blog posts….so come on, all you great writers, enter the contest 😉

Andrew & Sarabeth

Time’s ticking.

We want to make sure everyone knows to get their 500-word short stories in by February 25th to not only win $150, but to get published. Here’s how it works and what this is for… (if you already know the details, save yourself some time and go ahead and reblog this or share this on Twitter/Facebook for all your writers’ circles).

I’ve started a publishing company called Endever Publishing Studios. The ideas behind it are pretty awesome and if you’re interested in ever being published, you might want to take a look at this five-minute video.

We want to remain a debt-free business from the start, so we’re hosting a writing contest to raise funds for the company. The first $150 we receive will be awarded to the winner.

The winner will be chosen after we choose three finalists to post here on this blog as well as on

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An Elimination Diet of a Different Kind

For those of you who are recent followers of my blog, I hope you will not be too disappointed in the break from the ‘South African education’. My blog isn’t a travel blog, although considering my last few posts on South Africa, I suppose it could easily be mistaken for one. There will be future posts (near future) on more fun facts about South Africa, but for now there was something else that ‘grabbed me’, and I fear it won’t let go till it has had a chance to be written.
I saw something yesterday, that led me to Google the ‘Elimination Diet’ and I found that it is a very real thing. Apparently it’s a diet that is well-researched and evidence based, and helps you to identify and eliminate foods that are not good for you health wise, and if you suffer from anxiety, indigestion or chronic pain, it is said to be the way to go!
I can’t speak from personal experience, because I haven’t purchased the books, and don’t follow the plan. I can, however, see that certain foods can have negative effects (especially when consumption is not in moderation). So I am guessing it’s a truly valuable thing to own – or at least make yourself aware of.

But the ‘something’ that I saw was not related to food – and yet also has amazing health benefits! It was a quote by Charles F Glassman which says:

“The Elimination Diet : Remove anger, regret, resentment, guilt, blame and worry. Then watch your health, and life, improve.”

When I read the above quote, the first thing that came to mind was, ‘easier said than done’. The second thing that struck me was. ‘But I have the right to be….’

As with food for our stomachs, emotions for our brains are all good – in moderation. All of those negative emotions listed above are unfortunately parts of our human nature, and they’re perfectly natural feelings to have in certain circumstances. It’s what we do with them, and more importantly, what we allow them to do with us, that create the problems we sometimes encounter when we experience them.

I’m going to touch on just two of these eliminations.

When you reach that point of anger, there’s usually an adrenalin rush that sends the message to your mind to either ‘fight or flight’. In my younger years, and I’ll put it down to immaturity, I was inclined to fight – which was very unwise because if I had just taken flight, then things wouldn’t have always turned out quite the way they did. My sharp tongue did more than shave a few hairs, sometimes I was able to leave giant gashes.  Being a woman, I was less inclined to lash out with my fists – although there’s been the occasional broken object. Older, and a little wiser, I’ve been able to ‘pick my poison’ a little better, and have more of a handle on anger. I am more inclined to take time to respond when I feel that red monster pushing up to my throat, ready to strike. When it comes to my children, I don’t count to ten, I usually count to one hundred. Out loud. And if they’re close by, and they hear me get to eleven, then they know they’re really in trouble and usually issue a whispered warning to each other and disappear. But they know, when mom reaches one hundred, we’re going to have a stern talk! Getting angry is okay – it’s normal and relatively healthy. It’s what you do with it that poses the problem. There was a full year where I held on to anger. I seethed and sometimes I wonder if I even relished in it. When I look back on that year, it was one of the worst of my life. There was no quality – and even the most beautiful of moments left an ugly stain on the canvas of my life. When I was able to let go, my life improved – but it was no easy feat, because my anger was valid. I still get angry now when I think of that ‘situation’, but it doesn’t consume me – it’s more of an acknowledgement of the facts, and that I have the right to be angry about it – but it does not have the right to take away all the other beauty in my life.

Regrets? I have had a few. Like eating that fourth slice of pizza when I was already full and suffering for it. I wish it had never happened and that I had been wise enough to listen to my body. I wish that bad food choices were the only regret I ever had. But they aren’t. But here’s the thing with regret – it’s a rather useless thing. Because it always happens after the fact. You can’t change what happened, so why are you wasting time dwelling on it? I have my fair share of regrets, and when I dwell on them I make myself pretty miserable and my quality of life drops.  I do regret some of the things I have done, and some of the poor choices I have made. But I will not live in that place of regret, because doing so may cause me to miss out on other opportunities and good choices I could be making instead. Try not to live in regret – it’s the past, and there’s nothing you can do about it. I am always reminded of the movie, ‘The Lion King’, when I think of the past. There is a scene with Simba the Lion, and the wise old monkey. The monkey hits Simba on the head, and Simba yells, “What was that for?” The old monkey chuckles, “It doesn’t matter, it’s in the past.” Simba exclaims that it still hurts, and the old monkey replies with, “Oh yes. The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or learn from it.” Regrets? I have them – I’m not running from them; but I also choose not to dwell on them. I have learnt from the mistakes of the past, and am moving forward. As I mentioned here, I have packed up my tent and am continuing to climb the mountain of life.

Of course all of the things listed in the quote above need to be eliminated as much as possible in our lives, for healthier and happier living. It’s not always easy, and sometimes requires some rather exhausting efforts, but always remember that baby steps count too!

Wonderful Words

In my last post I addressed some interesting South African foods. The one before we looked at the differences in the words we use here in South Africa, as opposed to words that are used in America.

There are just so many of these wonderful words, and silly differences, that I could probably write posts for a month and still not have them all covered. But I will make small efforts, and today’s post is one of those.

Takkies  – pronounced ‘tacky-s’
I sometimes forget myself when chatting with my friend in Kansas, and every now and then I revert to South African words. I sent her an email, saying I was taking the children shopping before the schools started up again, because they needed school shoes (they wear uniforms here) and takkies, for sport. Thankfully, the use of the word ‘sport’ helped her to identify what I meant. Takkies is the South African word for sneakers/trainers.

If we’re talking slang, then this is most definitely the word for a gullible human being – but I don’t think our country is alone in that line of thinking.
When I offer my daughter a sucker for consumption, I am not offering her the opportunity to eat a gullible human being (yes, cannibalism is illegal here too), but instead I am offering her a lollipop.

Shebeen – pronounced ‘sha-been’
This is the name given to an illegal drinking establishment. If the bottle store (we call it that, you call it a liquor store) is closed, and you’re feeling mighty brave, then you can always find alcohol at a shebeen – although it’s almost double the price of what you’ll pay at the store. It is, after all, what has to be considered a ‘convenience outlet’. The brave part comes in because these are normally located in rural locations, in the middle of an informal settlement, and ‘the party’ is always more than a little rough.

When you go to the store and are paying for your purchases, they will ask if you’d like a packet. If you have too many items to carry out, this may be a good idea, because what they are offering you is a disposable plastic shopping bag to place said items in. We have to pay for our packets (it’s not a lot, but still), and so it’s always a good idea to store them up at home, and take a few with you the next time you visit the store. I also happen to think it’s better for the environment if we’re re-using as much as possible as opposed to purchasing them each time, just to throw them out. And while I’d like to say that I do this all the time, I am afraid that being human tends to show up in my life sometimes, and I forget!
You can purchase a rather costly canvas shopping bag at the store though, which will last a lot longer than the plastic packets do.

Now now
This is more of a South African expression than a ‘word’. When we say, ‘I’ll do it for you now now’, we mean, ‘I’ll do it for you soon’. We’ll be doing it sooner than ‘just now’ (see the end of this post for that expression’s explanation), but won’t be doing it immediately.
As mentioned before, us South Africans are a strange bunch when it comes to time.

Donga – pronounced ‘don-guh’
When I was still in junior school, we paid a visit to a local game park, and stayed the night. That night, armed with torches, we left the campsite for a night walk, to enable us to hear ‘the sounds of the bush after dark’. Halfway down the dirt road, we were all told to please keep to the right, as there was a huge donga on the left. The strange thing about this word is that it is a Zulu word (one of the African languages of our country) and it means ‘wall’; but when using the word ‘donga’ you are actually referring to a huge ditch / gully type hole. So if I ever blog about a huge donga in the road, or in my yard, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Lekker –  a slang word which has Afrikaans origin, pronounced ‘lack-er’
This has nothing to do with being in lack of anything, so if someone tells you your shirt is lekker, please don’t be offended. The English translation of the word is ‘sweet’, but when we use it in a sentence, or as an exclamation, we’re pretty much saying it’s ‘very nice’. When I was in high school, I used this word a lot – it was cool; I was young; slang was in. Thinking about it now, I am actually surprised at how little I have used it in the past decade. This does not mean I am no longer young and cool. 😛 A lot of South Africans still use it though, so you need to be made aware that it’s not insult, should you ever visit 😉

Stoep – I’m not quite sure about explaining how to pronounce this one, so you can listen to it here. The Afrikaans language is a lot like Dutch, and so the two are often ‘together’ when it comes to sounds and translations – but if you scroll down and listen to it in Afrikaans, you’ll hear that the ‘oe’ sound is a bit shorter.
The direct translation refers to a ‘sidewalk’, but in South Africa we actually use it to describe a front or back ‘porch’. So if someone invites you to come and have coffee with them on the stoep, they don’t mean you’ll be sitting on the sidewalk sipping coffee. They’re referring to their porch – although if they’re trying to be posh (or just prefer being purely English) they may invite you for ‘coffee on the patio/verandah’.

I think I’ll finish today with this:

You’ll hear a lot of Afrikaans being spoken in a lot of parts of South Africa. And there’s a phrase you’ll hear a lot, because us South Africans can be quite polite when we want to be.
It’s the Afrikaans way of saying ‘thank you’ – ‘baie dankie‘. It’s pronounced ‘buy-a dunkie’, but when said quickly to ears that are not accustomed to the words, it can often times sound something like ‘buy a donkey’. My step mother is British, and she says that when she first came to this country, she was confused as to why everyone always told everyone else to buy a donkey, when a simple thank you would have sufficed. Eventually a friend explained it to her, and her confusion disappeared, and has laughed about it ever since.

So I am explaining it to you, so that if you come and visit, you do not feel the need to seek out a farmer to purchase an animal 😉