Sunday, October 31, 2010

Conversations...why we have them...

Our days are filled with conversations, those we have in the privacy of our minds as well as the ones we have in public. These use to be traditional such as conversations with colleagues, family and friends, but recently these conversations have bridged to IM Messenges, Skype, Facebook and other social media communication channels.
But why do we have these conversations? I believe it's our way of constantly reminding ourselves that we are not alone, that there is someone on the other side of the line listening to what we are saying and then responding. It is our way of getting acknowledgement of what we believe, feel or think. We determine our opinions based on what we have heard during conversations we have had. Conversations keep us connected and we determine to what or whom we are connected by deciding on which communication tools or channels to make use of.

Converstations are at the foundation of each and every day, its who we are, what we are and how we communicate our wants and desires to those around us.

If no one was watching...

I'd push play, wait for the music to start resonating in my heart, pumping the beat through my veins until my limbs developed a mind of their own. I'd dance as if no one was watching, as if Juliard was begging me to join their company!

I'd forget about the eyes staring, the soft whispers behind covering hands and just let go. I'd dance as if the world depended on it for their salvation, until my body could no longer pick itself up off the floor from exhaustion and then I'd dance some more.
I would invent my own moves, make my body move in ways it has never moved before and I would delight in every moment I could. I would get lost in the music as it transforms and releases me from my worries and burdens.

the LIST we all keep for a rainy day

None of us know for how long we will be on this earth, but we are all on borrowed time. As we grow older we add things to an invisible list we carry around in our heads, a list of things we would like to do when we get older, when we have time, when we can afford it or when we have someone to share it with. Many people never get to complete the things on their list because we get too caught up in the rat race called life.

When asked to write my bucket list I had to take some time to think about it, to remember the items I have added over time. Once I got going they all just seemed to flow onto the page...

- Do an Advanced Driving course in a sports / formula one vehicle
- Take Ballroom / Modern Dancing classes with my husband
- To climb Table Mountain
- Get to do my first flight / business trip - COMPLETED!
- Visit Disney Land and experience being a child again
- Get to ride on an elephant
- Learn to eat Vegetables again - TRYING!
- Learn the art of Archery - COMPLETED!
- Visit Rome and see the Colisseum
- Pick Cherries at Christmas time - COMPLETED!
- Do a Scuba Diving course and go snorkeling off a tropical beach
- Plan an overseas backpacking trip with friends or a loved one
- Visit Alaska where the sun never sets for 6 months of the year
- Complete my collection of Disney DVD's - ON TRACK!
- Organise my first solo, major event - COMPLETED!
- Meeting my life partner, my best friend and starting our own family
- Do a motorcycle trip, exploring South Africa with only a tent, minimul clothing, camera and toothbrush
- Complete my Peter Rabbit book collection by Beatrix Potter
- Volunteering at a natural disaster i.e. hurricane, tsunami, fire etc
- See an Olympic event such as the Diving, Syncronised swimming etc.
- Swim with Dolphins
- See the Northern Lights
- Enjoy a scenic Microlight flight
- Experience Weightlessness
- See a NBA Basketball game live
- See my favourite artists live in concert - ON TRACK: Seen Celine Dion, Daughtry & Il Divo, Riverdance is up next
- Play Action Cricket and/or Netbal - COMPLETED!
- Forgiving those who have hurt me - ON TRACK!
- Ride a Gondola in Venice
- Do the Disciples Cruise
- See the Pyramids in Egypt
- Watch Turtles hatch and make their way to the ocean
- Learn to Salsa Dance - COMPLETED!
- To learn to love running and complete a 10km race
- Wanted to meet Princes Diana, settled for meeting Prince Harry & Prince William - COMPLETED
- Learn to eat healthy, stay healthy - WORKING ON IT!
- Learn to play golf
- Enjoy my first Helicopter flip over beautiful country - COMPLETED!
- Learn to flyfish - COMPLETED!
- Learn to ski on a visit to Switzerland
- Learn to speak a foreign language
- Go White Water Rafting
- Enjoy a Hot Air Balloon ride over the Serengeti
- Have a snowball fight with friends - COMPLETED!

Making this list I realised how many items I had stored in my head of things I'd like to do before I die. I'm sure this list will grow as I discover new things I'd like to learn, experience or see.
I've made a good start to the list and I'm newly inspired to continue working through my list as I complete my dreams!

Ruin is the road to transformation

When life gets tough and I mean really tough. When all I want to do is crawl up into a ball and hide from the world, when I just can't face getting up and out of bed, when the only thing I feel is loneliness even when I'm surrounded by many people.
That's when life is at its worse and I struggle to pull myself out of that deep, dark hole, and believe me I've had to do it too many times to count. I didn't have it easy growing up, blamed the small town I grew up in with its narrow minded communities, I blamed it on being English in an Afrikaans school, oh yes I found loads of excuses and lots of wrong things but I never found answers to solutions. I just survived, just went through the motions and finally it was time to leave that small town and spread my wings.

I headed towards the city where I thought I would find instant happiness, and oh yes I did find some of that happiness but it was short lived as life threw new obstacles my way. Again I learnt to survive and just get by, I picked myself up, rebuilt what was broken and moved on. Never fully dealing with the root of what was wrong.

The loneliness got to me, fuelled by my insecurities and what I thought were shortcomings. What I failed to see was the good in me, the "gifts" I brought to the table. I forgot to believe in myself as a person.

Oh I knew I could achieve what I set out to do, reach my goals but when it came down to the route of who I was inside I didn't know who that was and therefore I didn't like what I saw. All I saw was failure and anger when instead I should have seen my own worth. How could I ever have expected others to see my value when I kept it hidden and when I had lost faith in myself?

I have had to cut my losses, say many goodbyes, deal with a lot of hurt and dissapointment during my 26 years here on earth. But my biggest hurt and dissapointment was in myself with myself...for not feeling worthy!

I had to be "ruined" before I took the road to transformation and it has been a rocky road but one that I am extremely grateful to as it has taught me some valuable lessons and has made me the strong person I am today!

I look at challenges differently, I see them as opportunities to test myself, learn a few new things, to shape and develop my character and even meet people who would compliment my life. My past is what brought me to my future and my future is bright.

Ruin is the road to transformation when you accept the journey.

My Big Fat Dream

This dream is under construction, I apologise for any inconvenience caused. I am currently working on restructuring my Big Fat Dream.

Thank you for your patience regarding this matter, updates will be posted shortly.

Hard Work Made Fun

I have a passion for events, truly enjoy my occupation as I create various scenarios to create awareness and raise much needed funding for the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital.

Those of you who are or have worked in the events industry know that events aren't glamorous but it's hard work, dirty work and often you don't get to event attend or enjoy the event. This is okay with me as my favourite part of events is the conceptualisation and next is the setting up; seeing how a venue can change into your vision, how everything comes together to paint a picture. The hard work doesn't even register as you enjoy a good workout, feeling the accomplishment of making your visualization become a reality.

Working for a charity our budgets are limited so there is no such luxury as hiring additional staff to assist with setting up or the break down, however I have been fortunate with a few colleagues who pull more than their weight as well as a few friends who are working in the same industry who volunteer their time to assist me.

We work as a well oiled machine, having found a "unique" manner in which we prefer to deal with the tired feet, sore bodies and heavy eyelids late at night, once all the guests have left the event and you are left with the clean-up...
It helps that we all are vibrant, quirky individuals who like to make a "fool" of ourselves as we unwind together. But like they say, a picture speaks a thousand words, and these spoke of a thousand laughs.

The lesson learnt here is that hard work can be made fun if you stop complaining, make it interesting, create a game and get the work done.

Chasing Two Rabbits

You cannot chase two rabbits at the same time but you sure can learn to multitask to enhance your performance. It's not the difficult taks we all make it out to be, but it can be a very useful tool to have in your pocket to just give you that extra bit of edge.

Chasing two rabbits is tiring, a waste of your time and energy and won't yield any spectacular results. If you aren't any good at chasing two rabbits simultaneously; start by chasing just one and once caught attempt to catch the second. This way you are able to give each rabbit your full attention, doing the job effectively, reserving additional energy and working smartly.

My Message

If presented with the opportunity to get a message to a large group of people, what would your message be?

If I had the opportunity to share a single message with the masses I would use that opportunity to tell them about someone who loves them, accepts them with all their faults adn shortcomings, has only their best interests at heart, wants to get to knwo them and would like to save them.

He has sacrificed for us, suffered for us and He still loves us, guides us and hopes to have us open the door for Him. He is our Father, our Saviour, our Friend and our God!

To some the Bible might seem like a fairy tale, some elaborate scheme or fiction told by very old men. And yes I won't deny that it is at times hard to believe in someone I have never met, to trust something I have never seen but when looking back on my life I know for a certainty that I have not been alone, not even in my most dark moment. My life is a testament to what I believe to be true, I am who I am because I have a set of footprints right next to mine, always!

Take a chance, start with Go Eat PopCorn* and see where it takes you, you might just be pleasantly surprised at what you read. If you read that and then maybe even the Gospels* and you still don't feel a tug then at least you can say you tried. But without trying; who are you to judge those who do believe? Who are you to say you don't believe when you dont' event know what you claim not to believe in?

Don't judge a good book by its cover (or name for that matter)! Risk being proved wrong and you just might find some peace.

* Go Eat PopCorn = Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians & Colossians
* Gospels = Matthew, Mark, Luke & John

The Second Head Fake

What exactly is a head fake? To be honest I didn't know either and I had to use google to help me with this one. So here is what I learnt as well as my understanding of the second head fake...

Head fake is a sports term used when a player moves their head to fake a change in direction. This is an effective tool of misdirection which allows you to determine the way in which your opponent could move. When used correctly you are able to manipulate the way in which players react to various situations to best advance yourself on the field.

Another form of a head fake would then naturally be when it is used in the corporate world where we dealwith another form of 'opponent' which could range froma competing company, to suppliers and even clients in some industries. To be successful and to own the majority of the market we need to attempt to manipulate our opponents to follow a certain path while we take on a different path or counter act their movements to ensure they stay at the forefront of our industry.

War, at one stage the biggest "industry" ruling the world, has perfected the head fake, misguiding enemies into strategies to suit the objectives of the opponent. Manipulating was key to survival as you had to predict what your enemy was thinking and then to strategise around that to ensure your men made it to their rendexvous.

Head fakes can be very effective tools when strategising but it can also go horribly wrong and should be used with caution and only when one is sure of which way to point your opponent. So beware you don't head fake yourself right out of your idustry.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Toes Squishing, Grapes Squashing

Waking up to the sun creeping up from behind the mountain, you can practically taste the fresh dew covering the green grass. As you unzip your tent the fresh, cold air greets you with a dose of adrenalin as you feel the excitement building up inside you.

Today is the day I get to experience the thrill and accomplishment of making my own bottle of wine, something I wouldn’t traditionally see myself doing, but yet something that has sparked an interest. Friends have come to join me as we tackle this new adventure, some complain about the early morning, but once some coffee was pumped into their veins they were just as wired as the rest of us.

As we head to Excelsior Wine Estate, I get to show off my home town, Robertson. Robertson is where I grew up, where I got to experience freedom like no city child will ever understand. I consider myself fortunate for the upbringing this quaint, little town offered me, the adventures I got to experience and life’s lessons I was taught. Today my friends will get to share in my passion for this valley of wine, roses and race horses as we make our own bottle of wine from scratch.

On arrival at the Excelsior Wine Estate, we each get handed our own set of shears and a crate and head off to the vineyards to hand-pick our own grapes. We had fun trying to determine which grapes would make the best juice, all of us completely clueless but enjoying the ‘game’. With crates filled, we head towards the cellar where half barrels are set up for us to use. This is where things get squishy as we pour the grapes into our individual barrels, roll up our pants, remove socks and shoes and start plucking up some courage for what comes next. Everyone’s standing around, waiting nervously to see who will go first, who will take the plunge and lead the way.
Eventually, one by one we all take the plunge and get into the barrels, feeling the cold grapes squashing between our toes. Some of the crunching sounds are a few of the unlucky snails that got thrown in with the grapes, but we were told it adds to the flavour so we continue stomping our grapes. Once I got over the initial sensations, I actually started enjoying it. It felt good on my feet and my stomach muscles got a good workout from all the laughing.

I took loads of pictures to capture this memory. It’s time to drain off the juice and bottle our own canteen of grape juice. This turned out to be a bit tricky but we quickly learned a handy trick using the grape stalks as a filter which helped the juice flow more freely with less pulp.

All the effort worked up quite an appetite, which was perfect timing as the tables were laid with a variety of farm-style treats for visitors to enjoy while soaking up the warm sun on the lush green lawns near the farm dam. Taking a breather was just what we needed to recharge the batteries before moving on to the next part, bottling our own bottle of wine.

Moving to the wine tasting room we each get handed a test tube with a set of instructions letting us test various options of red wine blends. We each pour the blends according to the percentages given, taste our creations and then compare to other blends. It took us a while to select our favourite blends and I had some difficulty since I don’t drink wine, but that didn’t take away from the immense fun I was having. I decided to not trust my own judgement but rather follow the decision of the masses.

With the decision made, I move over to the barrels, select my empty bottle and start pouring my blend. I had to pour with a steady hand to ensure the blend was not ruined and moved on to corking the bottle myself. After that, I was the proud owner of wine bottled and corked by yours truly. All that was left for us to do was to ‘dress’ the bottle and package it by melting the seal onto the neck of the bottle, labelling and boxing the bottle.

The hard, but tremendously fun work was done for the day and it was time to head back to our camping site where the fire was lit, a bottle of wine opened and stories shared as we enjoy the smells of our ‘potjie’ cooking on the flames.

Following Simple Instructions

From experience I have come to learn that it is very hard for some to follow instructions. Most of my experience has come from the individuals I share a classroom with while we all work towards obtaining our diplomas and degrees.

Its been quite interesting, funny as well draining and irritating to watch how some just do not take the time or effort to read the instructions. Instead they rely on those around them to spoon feed them – this was “acceptable” during our first year, but being a honours student this should not be allowed. By now we should all have learnt the basic skills of reading a project / assignment brief which clearly outlines the steps that need to be taken as well as what is expected. For some students this is just beyond their competence levels as they portray characteristics of pure laziness, lack of respect and no ambition to reach their full potential.

What will happen to these students when the rest of us decide to not read their instructions for them? Will they grow a spine, get a pair of reading glasses or go back to school to learn their ABC’s?

Why do some struggle with following easy, clear instructions? And why do some of us feed their laziness by doing it for them? Who is more wrong in this scenario?

Dreams we Dream

In our lives we also have many dreams, some of them are dreamt at night and are just thoughts and concerns that have lodged themselves in our sub-conscience. Some of us had dreams of a certain career, spouse, life long friend, vacations or children. Some of these dreams might come true, some of them might need a little work and some of them might come true but may be snatched away before our very own eyes. It’s hard to let go of a dream, especially one that has come true, but it is part of life and sometimes it is part of the dark side of life. We learn how to deal with it and be stronger when we come out on the other side.Have you ever had a dream that seemed so real that when you woke up you weren’t sure what to believe? Do you retreat into your life’s dreams with the hope of finding one perfect reality? Sometimes life can be stranger than a dream and the only way to wake-up is to face what lies hidden. And you can only hope that when you find yourself in those, sometimes dark, moments of reflection that you are not alone? What would you do if what you thought was true turned out to not be? And what you thought wasn’t true turned out to be true? I hope I have given you something to think about or even talk about.

15 Minutes of Fame

Andy Warhol said, “In the future everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes.” You can’t choose the 15 minutes but why would you be world famous?

I wouldn’t be world famous…
I like my privacy and would prefer keeping my life out of the lime light at all costs. Every day we are exposed to the effects of fame on ordinary people who now live for our entertainment, ridicule and judgement. We praise them when they are doing good, but when they slip and make a mistake we crucify them.

My hope is not to have 15 minutes or a lifetime of fame, but to have a legacy of being someone who is hugely missed, of someone who has left a gap in the lives of those around them and of someone who lived a wholesome life. I’d like to be remembered as being compassionate, as someone who gave of myself to those I loved and cared for. I want to be known for the work I did in trying to improve the lives of those less fortunate than myself, in the passionate way I did my work to benefit others as I grew into someone who resembled the characteristics of my late grandmother, a woman I look up to with admiration.

My grandmother was well loved by friends, family, neighbours and even strangers as she never judged, never shied away from giving of her time, skills or love to those who needed it most. Even when lying in hospital, cancer eating away at her, hardly able to breath, no longer able to eat solid foods, she was more concerned for the wellbeing of other patients around her than herself. But then again, she had my mother by her side taking care of her needs as she took care of others.

My grandmother left behind a legacy I hope to be able to follow. I want to be a fair person who treats others with dignity, compassion, and love. I want to be known for someone who was always there to support those who needed it, for always lending a shoulder or an ear when it was necessary. I’d like to be remembered for being someone full of laughs, someone who always ensured everyone had a great time in their company. If I could die knowing I was leaving a legacy of being honest, generous and a faithful person I would know I achieved my goal.

But most importantly I’d like to leave this earth with the legacy of being a disciple, a fisher of men who lived like I was on location, living for whatever purpose God had for me…that would be my 15 minutes of fame and I’d die satisfied and happy.

Life, Dreams & Trust

Have you ever thought about life and the people in yours, really thought about it? Who have you let into your life, trusted with your fears, dreams, love and life?At times life comes at us from nowhere, from out of the darkness. At times we can find it hard to face life, we try to erase the shadows crowding us, and when thrown in the deep end we learn to sink or swim. Who do you choose to turn to when life gets too much, when coping becomes a fight for survival, when you feel the need to not be alone? Is it someone you trust, someone wise who will guide you with their love for your? Is it someone who has proven their worth, proven that you can trust them when

things get tough?

When we look at our lives from this angle, we start to wonder who we have let into our lives, who we turn to and who we trust?

Who do you turn to when life gets dark and twisted? We have all had a moment or two (or more) where we have needed that someone we trust, someone who loves us (not talking about spouses here) and will guide us on the right path when we ourselves are not able to. Can that person really be trusted? Some of us have had a someone we trusted with our deepest secrets and have had them misuse that trust…we have all had that person who would guide us but when it comes to crunch time they desert you. I am sure most of you have some tales to tell and some scars to show. We all do.

Choose wisely when choosing the people you let close to you, take note of who you trust with your fears, dreams, love and life. And if you have been used, hurt or burnt, don’t let that influence the way you view society, let yourself heal and learn to trust again because none of us were built to go through life alone! I love that old saying “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Don’t let the wicket of this world stop you from morphing into a beautiful butterfly – go out there, choose carefully and live life like there is no tomorrow.

Follow the Leader

Not all of us are born leaders and not all born leaders want to be leaders. Being a leader is not an easy task even when it comes naturally. Leadership is a set of skills that allow you to lead those around you, those you work, live or socialise with. It’s a great set of skills to have should you use them correctly and wisely.

Not all followers enjoy being lead and not all leaders like leading. It’s a fine line that needs to be carefully managed by both parties to ensure the relationship is a successful one that works for both the leader and the follower.

Being a leader often means you are not well liked, it means making some tough decisions and living with the consequences of those decisions and the way in which some followers might react to your leadership. Being the leader means you might face some animosity and you will most probably not be Mr. Popular all the time.

Being a follower also takes a certain set of skills as it’s not always easy being the one being led, not all people are born to be followers. It goes against our natures to be submissive to those around us who have identified themselves as a leader. Being a good follower is as admirable as being a good leader.

A team is only as strong as its weakest link and to be a strong team you need strong followers who are loyal, hard working and who follow their leader without question as well as a leader who is fair, earns trust and has proven to put the team before their own needs. When both sides of the coin works together then both sides are equally important to the success of the team or project.

A skill set called leadership is as important as the skill set called following!

Moments In Our Lives

Do you ever wonder if we make the moments in our lives or if the moments make our lives?

If you could go back in time and change just one thing about your life, would you? If you could, would that change make your life better? Would you choose an entirely different path? If we answer yes to these questions why didn’t we choose the different path from the start? Is there a moment in your life you would like back, something you wish you had done or said to someone before it was too late? Then what stops us in that moment that makes us not say the things we want to? What makes us hold back on what we want to do or say?

My advice would be to live life so that you leave some great memories behind. Live life so that you have no regrets. Live your life in a manner that will make you proud when you, in your old age, reflect back on your life and how you lived it.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

An Hour Can Change Everything

Happiness comes in so many different forms, in the company of good friends, feeling young and alive or when you make someone’s dream come true. It’s okay to let yourself be happy, because you never know for how long that happiness will last.Have you ever sat and wondered how long it would take you to change your life? What amount of time is enough to be life altering? Is it the four years of High school or the three years spent at a university? Can your life be changed with a three week tour of Europe or a trip up the coast? Can your life be changed in a year, a month, a week or just a single moment?

An hour can change everything…

Everything you may ask? Yes everything…think about it, you get a call with good or bad news which could change the way you feel about certain things or people. You could fall off your bike and decide to never cycle again when your destiny might have been to one day compete in the Tour de France. Impossible? No. A lot can happen in an hour and not all of it is always good. Do we allow the things that cross our path to alter who we are, how we feel and what we think? Yes, too often we let it affect our lives.

People can influence you in ways you don’t even suspect, you change your lifestyle, opinions, tastes, hobbies etc for other people to accept you, but do you accept the new you? It’s easy to just say yes, but if you really go and think about it, do you really like the person you have became because of what others are or think?

Most important is to know who you are and not care what people think of you. If you are true to yourself and who you are - people will start to see the real you and come to appreciate you for it.

Some of us can admit to trying hard to be ourselves but failing because we were afraid of looking stupid. But what very few of us realise is that by following others, like little children, we do look stupid. Why can’t we all just have the confidence to be ourselves completely? Who ever decided what was “cool” and what wasn’t? Who decided what opinions were right or wrong? I believe we are all entitled to our own opinions and feelings. That is what makes us all unique. How boring the world would be if we all felt, looked, dressed and thought the same?

People are going to label you, but whether you become those labels or believe you fit the label is up to you. Do you allow people to label you? And do you become those labels? Who gave anyone the authority to create a label and allocate it to a certain person? Aren’t we in charge of our own lives and personalities? So why not decide who you are and what you want to become and stick to it? Stand up for what you feel and want, become the person you will be proud of when you look back at your life. That’s the one ‘rule’ to live by…will I be proud of the person I have become and of the things I have done to become that person? If not, then make the change now while you’re still young. It’s never too late to change your destiny…so go out and make some history.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Life is an achievement!

I was given the task of listing my top 200 achievements, at first this seemed like an easy task to perform, but as I started this task I realized how difficult it was to list these achievements. I could off course start at being born, go through my whole list of firsts, every grade I passed, but I decided not to go that route because I’m not one of the masses, I’m unique and have my own set of achievements that make me successful and who I am.

The fact that I am who I am where I am and what I am is a testament to all the achievements I have had in my 26 years of living. Yes it starts with the day I was born, but it’s also so much more, its every day I have woken up, survived and seen the end of. I have had days where I have wanted to give up, times I wanted to turn back and other occasions all I’ve wanted to do was run and hide. I have faced situations I didn’t feel I was equipped to handle, dealt with them and moved on a stronger person. There have been moments where I didn’t think I was strong enough to get through but I dug deep, turned to my parent’s strength and teachings and stayed on my feet and came out smiling.

There have been obstacles I should not have had to get over but yet I did and I’m all the stronger for it. Without spilling my guts in this blog, these are all achievements that cannot be counted or measured, but I have ‘survived’ 26 years of life and I’m a better person for each and every achievement, trial and celebration I have witnessed.

Don’t get me wrong, not all of my life has been hard, hurtful and scary! I have had some wonderful moments that have inspired me, taught me some valuable lessons, made me stronger and shown me the beauty of life. I count myself very lucky to have experienced all that I have.

I’m also exceptionally proud of where I am today and for all I have learnt, received and given. Without needing to list my top 200 achievements I know I have achieved so much more…and here’s to the future!

What are your deal breakers?

We all find ourselves in various relationships; friends, family and partners…but what are the deal breakers in your relationships?

We can’t choose our family, but we CAN choose the people we call our friends and partners. We tolerate a lot from the people closest to us as we fully realize that everyone has their own set of faults. But what are the deal breakers we will not accept, that will push us away and end these relationships?

For me there are a few that I will not budge on and they include some of the following:

FAITH – I want a partner that shares the same faith as I do, who is confident in what they believe and what the Bible tells us. I want someone who will support me in my faith, encourage and stand by me as I grow. I want a partner that will not back down when the “right road” gets tough, who will turn to faith and me to get us through the hardship, obstacles and trials. Someone who will celebrate the blessing we receive because of our faith.

FAMILY – My life partner would need to love my family with all their quirks, faults and good qualities just as he would love his own family. My family needs to become his family and he needs to know and feel as if he is a son and not a son-in-law in my family. My family needs to accept him as one of our own, need to embrace him as a son and come to love him as much as I do. I want a partner who wants to have a family with me, and I want to know that my partner will always put us and our needs first, that we will be important and at the centre of his life.

TRUST & HONESTY – To date I have been lied to, manipulated, played and hurt, just as many other people have been. Because of human nature and past experience I haven’t allowed anyone close to me, therefore trust and honesty are two of the core fundamentals I need in a partner before I will give myself completely. I need to know I am safe to be who I am, safe with my partner and that at all times, no matter how hard we be honest with one another. With this comes the reversed trust that my partner will find in me; that I promise to accept and receive the honesty in a manner that invites him to be honest without fear of me reacting negatively. Trust and honesty are a two way street and one I have prided myself in.

ANIMALS – My pets are my family, my children and they get treated as such. My partner will need to share that same love of animals, accept that the dogs will sleep inside, they will be part of the family and that they are important to me.

LOVE – I want to be loved, loved for who I am and accepted with all my negative and positive attributes. I want to be loved without a partner changing me into who I am not. I want to be loved unconditionally and I want to be able to see it in his eyes when he looks at me, I want to hear it in his voice when he talks to me (or about me) and I want to feel his love in his embrace. I want to know I have found my other half and that I will never be half again.

AMBITION – I’m a woman with loads of ambition but it has a flaw, I tend to want to run before I can crawl. I want a husband that will support my ambition without resentment and will encourage me every step of the way. Similarly I want a husband that has a healthy ambition, who strives to be the best he could be, to have a passion for what he does and to always remember that power, money and status is not the alpha and omega in our lives. I want to know that my family will be taken care of but not neglected because of any obsession with wealth.

MY 3 F's

There are many things in this life that motivate me; it all depends on where I am in my life and what’s going on around me. At the top of my list of motivators are my three F’s…friends, family and my faith.

I have been blessed with friends who I have come to love as extended family. They have been a support system, accepted me for who I am, encouraged me in my dreams and my life’s goals and stood by me through the trials I have faced. These friends have embraced me and motivated me without casting judgment, never questioning my decisions, but always near with a hand to help, some good advice and many moments of laughter. They all stand right beside me when tackling a new adventure; they share in all the fun in my life and appear in hundreds of photographs capturing our strong bonds.

My family is my base from which I was formed and continue to grow. They are part of who I am and I am part of who they are. We are each others friends and we never leave anyone behind. We stand together through all life’s ups and downs as we tackle life and what it has to offer us. I know my family support me in all that I do, always ready with a congratulatory cheer or comforting hug when needed. They are there to motivate me every step of the way and they love me regardless of whether I achieve my goals or not. I know I’m never alone in this world and that I have some very enthusiastic fans along the road of life dressed in pom-poms cheering me along every step of the way.

At the top of my list is my faith in Jesus Christ. Without my faith I wouldn’t have the friends I have or the relationship I have with my family. I wouldn’t have the peace I have with where my life is heading; I would be filled with worry, with uncertainty and a false sense of security.

My faith has motivated me to ends where nothing else has been able to motivate me!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fond Memories of Home, a Small Town called Robertson

I had the good fortune to have grown up in a small town, called Robertson; about two hours drive outside of Cape Town. Many of you might know this town because of its famous race horse breeding, great wines, beautiful roses and delicious fruit and cheese.

I know this town as being home, as the place that gave me freedom to learn, discover and grow while feeling safe and free.

I fondly remember the days playing in the ‘sloot’ (Afrikaans for a residential irrigation sluice) because we didn’t have a swimming pool. Oh no, do not pity me here, even my friends who had pools had more fun playing in the sluice. We spent our afternoons folding and decorating paper boats as we raced them down the road, playing imaginary games with the neighbourhood kids.

There were numerous evenings spent cycling around the cul-de-sac we lived in as our parents tried to bribe us to come home to bath, eat and get into bed. We loved weekends because our parents usually gave in and let us play and race for a few hours extra. We spent more time outdoors than in, our parents struggled to get us inside and we hardly ever spent much time in front of the television.

In fact, the only TV I remember watching fondly was the Loony Tunes cartoon at 7am while dressing for school or trying to force down the breakfast my mom tried to convince us was good for us. There were other favourite programmes such as Pumpkin Patch, ‘Dawie die Kabouter”, “Brak en Jan” and many others, but outdoor fun with friends just appealed to us so much more.

Other fond memories include ‘stealing’ neighbours pumpkin flowers, making rings out of them and selling them back to their owners at 2c all the while not realizing had the neighbours had full knowledge of what we had done. Looking back I realize what part they played in our development and fun as we all lived in the cul-de-sac bordering a tiny river flowing through town.

Talking about the river we spent many summers in, reminds me of all the time we played there catching little mole snakes, tadpoles and various other interesting creatures we could find. It was save to play in the river, we didn’t contract any illnesses or come to any harm. Our parents knew where we were and we learnt numerous lessons as we grew older.

Weekends were spent on friend’s farms, playing in the fields or in and around the stables while pretending we were horses or horse owners. This developed into a fascination of horses as we started taking lessons, enjoyed rides and learnt how to care for these magnificent animals.

When the dreaded teen years approached, we forgot all about the fun, thought the town was just to small and boring. But looking back now I realize how privileged I was to have had the upbringing I had. All those years spent wishing I had grown up in the city were so misleading and a waste of years I could have spent appreciating the benefits of growing up in a small town.

Elephant in the Room - What we don't say out...

We all go through life, interacting with various people…colleagues, friends, strangers and family. We share conversations, debate various topics, argue and share an assortment of information on an ongoing basis. With all the conversations going on daily, many of us have a gigantic elephant following us, filling the spaces we find ourselves in. This elephant holds all we hide from those we interact with, the things we are too afraid to say or the conversations we seem to think are taboo.

Where did we go wrong, who decided which subjects were off the table and when did we stop being open, honest and free to discuss what’s on our minds? I’ll tell you, we did it to ourselves. We judge each other so harshly and we all want to get ahead, therefore we hide information that could help someone else, we hold our cards close to our vests and we manipulate and obscure information.

We feed the elephant that sits in the back of the room when we hide from our true feelings, when we don’t speak up for fear of the reaction we might get. This elephant keeps growing until its so huge that is suffocates us to a point where we no longer know what’s truth and fiction.

Deflate that elephant before you no longer have space, find a way to state what’s on your mind without hurting those around you, learn to be honest in a constructive manner and learn to appreciate your own opinion and mind as you start to live without an elephant in the room.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

What I have learnt...

In my 26 years of living, I have had to learn many lessons, some of them very obvious but I needed some reminding, some of them a surprise as I hadn’t even contemplated them and others were hard to learn but I believe I got through it stronger and the wiser for it. I’ve listed a few of these lessons, ones that came to mind and I’m sure many of you can identify with more than just one or two of them.

Tears are a good way to cleanse your soul, rid your body and mind of pent-up emotion, recharge your heart and soul and just shed a few good tears. Ever just watched a movie that made you tear-up, but you felt so good afterwards?

There are people, in this world and in our lives that are going to hurt us, who are going to disappoint and reject us. Do not waste your time on these unfortunate people for they weren’t able to see your worth, they weren’t able to see past their own insecurities, hurts, failures and blindness. Show them respect, love and grace and you’ll be the better person for it.

Counting calories, watching every little grain that passes your lips is tiring, its time consuming and it won’t prevent the weight from settling on your hips. Rather train yourself to eat in moderation, to eat when hungry and not out of habit and to savour what you do eat so that your body will feel and know it is full and satisfied. If you’re a Christian, then feast rather on scripture.

No one, but you, is responsible for your life; no-one is able to dismiss who and what you are unless you allow them to. You are unique, one-of-a-kind and don’t let anyone tell you differently or take that away from you.

Through trials, the ups and downs I have leant that I am stronger than I give myself credit for. I might be able to carry 20+ kg’s with little effort, but I am also strong in principle, I’m strong enough to withstand what is thrown at me and I will survive any hurt I may experience, I can endure what life throws my way.

Letting go does not mean I have given up, it means I have found a way around the obstacle in my way, I have found a way to survive without what I have been yearning and I have changed the course of my life for the better.

No matter how bad life might get, the sun will always rise the following day and it will grant us the opportunity to fix what is wrong, to enjoy what is right and to better what can be improved.

Friends come and go, some of them stay longer than others and some of them form stronger bonds. But each of them have a purpose in our lives; some will share our lives, the ups and the downs while others will be in our lives for a brief period as they bring to our lives what they were meant to. They complete their purpose and leave our lives.
Its trust that when one door closes, another opens! So when it opens, ensure that you are standing ready to step over that threshold and take the bull by its horns. Don’t wait on someone else to push you through the door; it might close before you have taken your opportunity.

“I don’t know” or “I need help” doesn’t make you a coward or an idiot; it means you are human and that you have enough courage to show your vulnerability which in turn makes you brave. People will have respect for individuals who aren’t afraid to be who they are even when face ridicule.

Picking fights are a good way of getting rid of built up tension…however they are draining, hurtful, a huge waste of my time and often end with us having said things we cannot take back.

However, fighting for the things that matter in our life is vital, standing up for what you believe in, for your morals and values, your family and those closest to you. Never back down from what you believe and stand firm against those who oppose you.

Guys will be guys and girls will be girls…this seems simple yet we are forever trying to understand the opposite sex, trying to figure out what’s going on in the others head, mind and heart. Spare yourself the frustration and the agony and just enjoy the fact that we are different and that’s what makes relationships so interesting and intriguing.

That a true friend is someone who knows the worst of you, yet still stick around even when the tough get tougher. True friends can be called upon at anytime of the day and they can be counted on no matter the crises. They will comfort you, support you and listen to you for hours on end, putting their own needs second to yours and ensuring that you will get over what is bothering you.

We are going to experience a certain amount of disappointments, as they are important in our lives, however its how we learn to deal with and overcome them that will determine how ‘successful’ we are in life. Learn to laugh in the face of disappointments and you will survive this life seemingly untouched.

Lastly and most importantly for me, is learning that I'm not in control, I cannot fix everything for everyone and that even when I hurt, even when I'm confused or unsure, happy or sad that God is with me. He is in control, He knows what is best for me and He won't let harm come to me.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"When Life Hand You Lemons, Make Lemonade"

We should never let a bad day be enough to discourage us, to convince us to give up, withdraw or back down. We all wish every day would be a good day, but the reality is that most days we will experience some sort of “bad”, but we should remember that there are a few someone’s out there who feel just like we do. There is no living person on earth who can say that every day has been a good day for them…not in the natural sense of the word. During our lifetime we all face a whole string of bad things happening to us which turn a good day into a bad day.

Bad things are part of our daily lives, part of who we are and what happens to us. Instead of letting it get us down, instead of giving up or throwing in the towel, we should try and find the positive in everything, concentrate on what can be learnt from that experience, how can we turn it into something good, something that will benefit our lives and the lives of those it affects.

We all have our own histories filled with things we regret, words we wish we had never said or could take back. There are those of us who have things we wish we could undo, and things we wish we could redo. But in the end we should realize that they are all lessons we have to learn to get ahead in life and grow who we are.

So take the lemons life has dealt you and decide whether it will end up on the compos heap rotting or if you will enjoy a tall glass of cool lemonade.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


"I love you, you love me. Take this gift and don't ask why. Cause if you, will let me, I'll take what scares you and hold it deep inside. And if you, ask me why, I'm with you and why I'll never leave. Love will show you everything." Jennifer Love Hewitt lyrics

Love is one of the most precious gifts we could give one another, a gift that should not be thrown around lightly and a gift that should not be taken for granted. When we give love to one another it should be pure and unconditional, and when we receive it we should receive it with thanks and with the promise to cherish it and not tarnish it.

So many of us take love for granted, don't see its value or even recognise it when it stares us right in the face. A child may not realise the love their parents have for them, the sacrifices they make for us, but instead we resent them and push against the love they give us.

Sometimes love is right there for the taking, in someone who is giving us their love, a precious gift, freely but yet we turn away from it. That love is not accepted and therefore not returned and in turn causes great hurt to those who love us as well as ourselves for we never know what we have lost out on.

So a word of caution to the 'love-unwise', open yourself to the possibility of receiving this love from a parent, a friend or someone special. Its one of the greatest gifts you could or ever will receive. Someone who truly loves you will share your dreams, encourage you through those times you want to give up, try to cure your fears and be your greatest fan. With love on your side you will go places you've never been, feel things you've never felt and learn to love in return.

To those who give their love to the 'love-unwise' who do not appreciate or recognise it, don't give up, don't hide your love from the world. For you will ultimately find the right fit, your child will realise the value of parental love and that special one will return your love in full.

So don't be afraid to love, take a risk and you might just be pleasantly surprised. And if you should find yourself loving and it not being reciprocated don't despair and don't give up. When it hurts just push back and keep loving, the end result will be well-worth it.

Weakness within my strength

For those of you who know me, know that when I decide someone is important to me I give them my all, I’m there for them no matter what the situation, I take care of them, support them and pick them up when they fall and fix what is broken. I don’t even have to be asked to help, I’m there and I’m always helping.

Some of you might be thinking this is a good thing and yes to a certain point it probably is a strength, one that I am very proud of most of the time. However, there comes a time when I push too much and too far and it turns into an ugly thing. Most people don’t see it as ugly or as a weakness, but it is, it’s a weakness I struggle with daily and one that ultimately gets me hurt.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy being there for the important people in my life, the people who I care about and love, I don’t regret helping them or supporting them through the highs and the lows in their lives. But too often I find myself giving 110% of myself to those around me, even when they don’t want or need me.

Up until recently I didn’t want to see this as a problem, as a weakness, but it has gotten to a point where I was giving too much of myself to those around me, my strength became a weakness, an addiction and it was draining me. The worst part of it all was that I was giving so much of my time and of myself that I forgot to take care of myself in the process.

This is a constant struggle for me to overcome so yes, our greatest strengths are also our greatest weaknesses. And hopefully the day will come where I will want to help someone without it always being an addictive desire.


The greatest gift I have ever received is the gift of my DNA. God truly blessed me when He chose my parents to be my parents. Growing up I didn’t always feel this way as most teenagers do, but now at the age of 26 and looking back over the years I realise how blessed I truly am.

Some of you might be thinking what on earth is she talking about, some of you might even still feel some “teenage resentment” towards your parents, but you too will grow out of it and realize the gift you have been given. I just hope for those of you still holding a childish grudge against your parents, the rules and boundaries they set or for grounding you that one time which according to you made your life suck that you realize the importance of your parents before time runs out on you. There is no greater loss or regret for a child who has lost his/her parents and even worse is when you left things unsaid.

My parents, Michele and David, are two wonderful individuals who each have a unique set of morals, values, positive attributes as well as some negative characteristics. Yes believe it or not, they are human too and even have some flaws – not that they would always want to admit that to their children, but we’ll let that one slide for now.

I consider myself lucky to have inherited quite a few of their traits, habits, characteristics and flaws which have formed who and what I am fundamentally. Its who they made me, how they raised me, the punishments they gave as well as the encouragement and freedom I got from them that have shaped me into the successful person I am today. Here I am not only talking about my career which has blossomed but I’m talking about me, out there on my ‘own’ tackling this not-so-friendly world we live in and surviving it, its me being the person I am and standing up for what I believe in. I’m out there living the life given to me by my parents, because of my parents and what they have given to me.

The greatest compliment I have ever received was when someone told me I was just like my mom or dad. I could only wish of being half the person or half the parent they are, and if I managed to achieve this I would consider myself a very blessed person.

I am extremely grateful to my parents for the influence they have had on my life, for all the times they put me ahead of them and for all they gave me through the years. My parents have set such a wonderful example to me and my twin sisters.

Thank you for sharing your DNA with me!
Love you always!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Try a Cliché

In life we came across so many clichés, some inspirational, some kind but often also very cruel. We use them when our own words fail us and we need a quick comeback or when we need that perfect saying in the perfect moment.

Money cant buy you love is one of the most genuine clichés there is and speaks such true words. So many of us believe money, more money, is the solution to all our troubles, that money will make us truly happy. But we can’t be more wrong, money doesn’t bring us much, it only ensures we are able to provide food for our families, clothes on our backs and a roof over our heads. If we lucky enough to have a bit more money than we need for the necessary essentials we get to spend it on a few luxury items that bring us temporary happiness and relief.

But what brings us true happiness is love. Love of our parents and siblings who are always there for us, who care for us and stick by us even when we don’t deserve it. The love of our soul mate, that special someone we get to spend the majority of our lives with, create new memories with and who loves us back, even with all our faults. Then we have the love of friends who are true and loyal, who always have our backs and who are there to listen to all our worries and dreams. Love comes in different forms from different people in our lives.

Love is what truly makes us happy, a true happy that lasts forever, it gets us through the dark times and makes the good times even sweeter. Love can’t be bought with money and money can’t buy us happiness.

So find that love in your life and hold on to it because all the money in the world isn’t going to bring you true happiness.

The Anttics of a Feather

So some of you might think I have lost the plot after you read my blog ‘Tribute to Calli’ and yes some of you might be right. But as I said, she wasn’t just a bird that sits in a cage and goes tweet.
So for those of you who are still skeptic I thought I would share some of my favourite pictures of Calli and hopefully I will be able to convert some of you into bird people or at lease people who have an appreciation for birds and understand why some of us are so fanatical about these feathery friends.

Calli spent some weekends with ‘Granny’ when I was on business trips, and oh how she loved those visits. She got to do all sorts of fun stuff like help ‘Granny’ do cross-stitch. She carried cotton around, pulled the needle out and inspected all the stitches to ensure they were all perfect.

‘Granny’ would occasionally send me an sms on how things were going, how Calli was doing. Calli loved a cellphone and even more so when the sms was for me! She would climb onto the phone and push buttons, trying to type a message or add her two cents worth.

And boy oh boy she knew when she was caught being naughty, just look at that attitude and guilty look. How do you punish that face? Like I said, she knew exactly how to wrap you around her little wing and she did it frequently.

When I was home she was always out of her cage, which is a pretty big cage to start with, she spent it playing on her jungle gym or climbing up and down her ladder to the floor. She’d often give me a mild heart attack when she climbed onto my foot or up my pants while I was doing the dishes or cooking. She just loved being with me and we spent most of her time like that.

We became friends, good companions; we had tons of fun and shared some laughter over the funny things she got up to.

She didn’t like her new sister, Skye, but they soon became friends and spent most of their time together. If you ever had the privilege of knowing Calli, you were blessed and you’ve come to have an appreciation for the quality they add to our lives.