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Showing posts from December, 2014

2015 can be the year for that small,significant life-changing goal .

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It is 20h21. There are only three hours and 39 minutes left before we welcome in the new year, 2015.I have been thinking hard about what to say to you and me about our vision for 2015. How do we prepare to make our lives matter? How can we live more authentically? How do we build on our successes? How do we make the changes that we have to make in our lives? Making changes will never be easy. But we have to start somewhere. We have to learn to commit to our dreams by starting small. Every small act or action adds up and before we know it, we are moving ourselves to becoming happier people. We need goals to be our maps, but we forget that each of our goals is a composite of many tiny goals. Those small goals are really the small actions that move us closer to our main goal. One of my overarching goals is to live a more purposeful life. One big stumbling block is that I am a self-confessed workaholic and I have begun to question its impact on my life.My obsession with work is blocking…

Young campers understand how to live.

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Our Kleinmond camping village is quiet this morning. The blue flag status beach has treacherous back currents and our volunteer lifesaver neighbours have already left to do their duty.About 9:00 the two young campers, Erin and Seth, were playing cricket while granddad Linden was packing up. Now and then Linden would join them and celebrate when either boy hits a four or a six. Both Erin and Seth have long, golden locks. Erin came over to chat with me."We are growing our hair for cancer. We need to grow it to 24cm before we cut it". The homeschooled brothers had learned about cancer and how people help those with cancer. Erin was the one who decided he wanted to grow his hair and then donate his locks. Seth followed suit.About 11:00 Christo and friends came to our site to collect the kettle, mugs, cutlery and milk. They didn't see the need to pack in items that could be shared amongst family. The trade off? I wanted eggs for breakfast.Inside the caravan Sasha, Riko, Re…

Treasure your family

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Whether we are talking about the nuclear or the extended family, we can expect to find a delicate, explosive network that is second to none.Families bitch and moan. They can suck up your bone marrow better than a giant octopus. Competition is their middle name. The house, children, jobs and pets are fair game during any family gathering. How many times don't we just want to throw in the towel and swear we don't need this madness in our lives?Then there's the creme de la creme personality of families. The Pacific Ocean is too small to hold all the love and concern they have for us. When we succeed, they rally the shooting stars to broadcast our achievements to the world. Their drooling makes our spines curl and the water rise in our knees. Don't we just want to hug them eternally on these occasions?Such is the life of families. Embrace this ambivalence that provides the fuel for REAL families. Families are alive, high energy organisms that need constant interaction to k…

Two blessed grandchildren camping with Grandpa Lyndon

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Just opposite our Kleinmond campsite is a lovely, family: #Linden Bradfield and his two grandsons. The three campers are organized. Their campsite is a reflection of their smooth camping style. The tent with its minimalist camping necessities cuts a clean picture. The boys are as chilled as their granddad and they use what nature can provide. Yesterday they came back armed with firewood that they picked up along the path. We are not using our entire site so we have the occasional pedestrians passing through to get to the path that takes you to the lagoon and beach.On their first walk this morning, I saw the trio looking for the designated path. This footpath that separates our camp from my sister's has been cut off by a parked car. Linden must have told the boys they would have to crisscross through our communal section."But didn't you tell us we mustn't disturb the other campers? We must not go onto others' property?, said one of the boys.Linden responded quietl…

Camping rules

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If you want to maximise your camping experience, don't be a spoilsport. Just stick to the rules. Your neighbour is a tent flap away from you and you will invariably bump into many of your temporary neighbours at the communal ablution facilities. That is how intimate and relational camping is.

Below are turn -offs that give camping a bad name:

1. Miserable, aloof people.

These folk move around the camp as if it is a leper colony. They can barely greet and almost choke when you acknowledge their presence. I am convinced they need therapy for all those strained neck muscles when they get home.

2. The Blaring unsolicited resident deejays.

This group often overestimate their role as bridge builders at the camping resort. Their music blares non stop and they drown out the music of all other campers. I can imagine how frustrated others may feel who made an effort to organise their camp music and their music equipment.

3. The uncouth Cussing Gang

This group have forgotten their m…

We can craft our own ring road.

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"My ring road is my own creation. It's where I am happiest."
                                                                                           - Keith Niekerk



The principle of the demand and supply model is straightforward. When there is a need, you supply the resources. The tricky part is we confuse our needs with our wants.

We convince ourselves that we need more of those things that give us instant satisfaction, regardless of the cost. We crave more material things to feed our addictions. The more we see, the more we want. Living like this is living on the edge - right on the brink of spiralling out of control and losing sight of true living.

Our real basic needs are simple. We merely need to live in harmony with ourselves, others and the environment. Therein lies the struggle. These simple life-enhancing pleasures are difficult to satisfy because of the high costs. The price of love, respect, sharing and tolerance is much higher than those things you can bu…

Depression during the Festive season is real and can be treated.

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If you are feeling depressed, more so than during the year, don't despair. The festive season can become overwhelming for those who are already vulnerable and stressed. Remember, for eleven months, you followed a regular pattern of work, family commitments and social engagements. If you experienced any trauma during the year, that routine probably helped to soften those blows.The Festive season, aptly called the Silly season, can be an overwhelming three-week rush. There may be too much unpredictability. You may not be prepared mentally for the additional pressures and the fast pace. Suddenly you have more time to think, to socialise and your budget is taxed because of gifts.Support group, The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sagad), confirms that seasonal depression is real and affects many people. If you feel depressed, seek help soon else you may become more stressed. Call on supportive friends, family and Sagad.Keep perspective. Take care of yourself by sleepi…

You may not be eating Chocolate even if it looks like chocolate

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The chocolate industry reads like a suspense novel filled with lies, greed and corruption. The bad guys are the ones who use a smattering of cocoa and tons of GM ingredients to concoct a chocolate. The good guys are the chocolatiers where chocolate making is a handcrafted art in a world where organic, sustainable farming and fair trade are non-negotiables. Apparently, all chocolate is not equal. The dark chocolate with a minimum percentage of 70% cocoa is the quality, nutritious chocolate. It is this chocolate that is brimming with minerals and fibre. Eating it moderately, it can help regulate your blood sugar, lower your risks for strokes, pump you with antioxidants and lift your mood. Then there is the other poser, say the purists.This dark, milk chocolate has a low cocoa content. These generics drown in sugars, milk solids, artificial sweeteners and emulsifiers. The poor white chocolate is a freak of nature. Emotions run high in the world of chocolates. "They should be called …

Help for Busy Moms to plan a 21st party for daughter from Jupiter

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Organising a 21st birthday party for your daughter is a GALACTIC affair. If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, then "Going on 21" daughters are from Jupiter. They will erupt like multiple volcanoes and fry you alive when you want to Mommy-mess with their party. Don't lose heart, though. If your daughter still doesn't know what her 21st party must be like, it's okay. Breathe in the word, "calm" and exhale "peace" to centre yourself. Then, become the tight-loose negotiator all Moms are born to be. Here is your three-phase survival kit:What Moms should accept:Your ideas were only hip during the Noah's Ark cruise.Keep your signature brand for your own parties.You are only the boss lady of your cash and your credit card. Black and White Decisions:Be Gerrie Nel, with specs dramatics and clinch these:Should the party be at a hired venue? Is the party a themed day or night event?What is the Mom/daughter guest list ratio?Is the music liv…

Don't ignore the signs of burnout and follow a plan to combat it in future

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Do you feel you can't shake off that exhaustion even though you are on holiday? If this is the case, the reality is that you are suffering from burnout. Many of the symptoms of burnout were there throughout the year, but you probably dismissed those early warning signs. There are two reasons why you don't see yourself as a sufferer of burnout.
Firstly, you may not know how to recognize the symptoms of burnout. You may have accepted being tired constantly because of work overload. Family demands frustrate you, you ignore spending time with friends and your conversations are mainly about work. This preoccupation with work after hours and the absence of fun and quality time with family and friends are all telltale signs of burnout. Secondly, you may be in denial. You tell yourself that it is normal to feel wasted at the end of the year. You may also play the blame game and identify everybody else as causing you undue stress and not take responsibility for your own role in feedin…

Be the change you want to see.

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One of these days we will be entering a new year, the year 2015. The ideal time to get rid of toxic people in your life. You know the kind that drains our energies. They come in all shapes and sizes and they are everywhere. Let's go minimalist on those people who complicate our lives. Let us be grape pickers of our own vineyards. Shall we start our pruning and harvesting? Right, here we go. We are that bounteous cluster of grapes, brimming with life. Here and there we see a spoilt grape tucked between the energising grapes. Remove these imperfections and see them as those people that you wish to exclude from your life. Those shriveled grapes may even be parts of your own personality that you wish to change. Go ahead. Prune vigorously so that you can make way for new sprouts, new beginnings.If we can visualize this cleansing, transformational process, we are well on our way to improving our quality of life. Now we just have to put our plan into action. This may sound simple, but…

Love and marriage

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Dorian, Basil's nephew, married his sweetheart, Jackie, finally! The two of them have been together for a few years now and we were thrilled to celebrate their wedding at the beautiful Fernwood Estate. Dorian and Jackie's children - all four of them - played an active part in the wedding ceremony. Their happy faces told the world that today was their glorious day too. They are now officially the Big Six.

I don't know about you, but I become marshmallowish when I see love and happiness walking on high heels. There we sat in the garden, witnessing two people declaring their love and commitment in public. I was mesmerized by the pastor's message of the three Cs of love. By the time Dorian and Jackie recited their marriage vows, I was saying them myself. Quietly, of course.


This wedding in an idyllic garden setting, on a perfect summer's day, was becoming increasingly intoxicating. When the pastor asked us to stretch out our hands to bless the couple, I stuck both my…

Giving gifts is a selfless act.

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We are in the season of generosity and we often give gifts to more people than we usually do. When we make our list of gifts we want to give to others, we must guard against our desires to get something similar in return. Giving is a spontaneous, selfless act. A gift is a multi-layered act of kindness. Think of an onion. When you peel back the layers of an onion, you arrive at its centre. Such is the structure of a gift. Deep inside - way past the physical manifestation - you will find a part of you that you have shared with another person. Therein lies the value of the gift. It is this relational element that separates the act of giving from a business transaction. When you attach a price tag to a gift, it is no longer a gift. Whatever you gave becomes a trade-off, an investment. Subconsciously, you are making demands on the person to pay you back. You start adding up what you have done, the cost involved and the sacrifices you have made. This negative spiral is unhealthy for your ow…

Frankie's knitting circle

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There in the Groote Kerk in Cape Town, Frankie read the notice appealing to volunteers to knit jerseys for the Jerzy4kidz project 2014. The jerseys were for the Steinthal Children's Home in Tulbagh. "That's interesting," thought Frankie. "I will gather my friends and we can knit for this worthy cause."Quietly the weeks slipped by. Then one Sunday after the church service, Frankie brought a large bag filled with jerseys. These jerseys were given to Pierre who had to pass them on to Sharon who had to take them to Gwynn. Something like the Chicken Licken story, but in our story the sky was not falling down. Our sky had a Frankie galaxy, sending rays of light to needy children. We are now supposed to have a "lived happily ever after" ending. That is, if only Frankie had forgotten about the church weekly bulletin where she saw the Jerzy4kidz notice.The weeks went by. Winter dragged on and Spring struggled to make an entrance. The winds howled and the ra…