I'm currently writing my blog from my cottage in the Drakensberg, Champagne Valley, Kwa-Zulu Natal; South Africa
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Holding my breath
One of my life long passions is writing. That is why I blog. I also read voraciously. It's a known fact that if you want to write (and get published, that is) you must read, read and read.
I subscribe to online writing clubs, mostly in the USA. I receive the Writer's Digest in the mail every second month and read it from cover to cover. I am in the process of trying to join and writer's club online here in South Africa.
While I lived and worked in West Africa, I found a wonderful writing website on which I made many online friends. This site had writing excersises and, if you rose to the challenge of doing them, you could be sure of wonderful writers, (many published authors) critiqueing your work. I no longer visit this site (blogging takes up too much of my time. LOL) but have kept in email contact with two wonderful ladies who are respectively a published author and a published poet.
Last month I decided to enter the Short Short Story competition in the Writer's Digest and who did I turn to when I needed help with my submission, but one of these dear friends who had re-started her interesting blog. Eleyne, whose interesting blog you can read by clicking on her name, very kindly helped me tighten the piece until I felt confident enough to copy and paste it onto the competition website and press enter!
Now I wait with baited breath until after 13th February, incidently my birthday, when I'll hear if my entry made an impact with the judges or not.
Meanwhile I continue to write and read and read and read.
You can read the story which I entered into the competition here.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
The Right of Way...
Monday, December 28, 2009
Digging up the Town
Sunday, December 27, 2009
A Train of Thought
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Slow Down - God wants to talk to you
Below is the first of a series of that I will share under this label over the next few weeks.
What the Lord commands concerning you and your family:
Numbers 9:8 says: "And Moses said to to [the Israelites]: 'Stand still and I will hear what the Lord commands concerning you. "
God wants to reveal to your His mind on the matters concerning you. But in order to know this, you must take time to consider this - seeking council at His feet. You cannot determine the "way to take" according to your own fancies or affectations. Every circumstance must be weighed in the light of His Holy Word.
May you find strength in these words to ascertain the direction of your family's life by "being still" and hearing God's voice.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
No Water in the Township
Yesterday morning as I drove to the township to collect Emily, my houselady, I noticed streams of people walking from the other parts of the township (there are no "suburbs" in the township) all carrying buckets, large plastic bottles, jugs and other recepticles.
A little further on I saw a long queue of men, women and children, all with containers, waiting at a tap. It suddenly dawned on me that the township was without water. I'm not sure how or why, but obviously there were two or three water points in people's yards (not many gardens in the township either) which had water. Everyone was drawing from these few taps/faucets.
Sure enough, when Emily got into my car, she told me that they'd been without water since the previous day. The "people who work for the municipality" told her that the water purifying pump at the town dam, had broken. I assured her that as soon as I got home, and the municipal offices opened, I would phone the people responsible and enquire as to when the water would be available again. (Which I did and was told that the problem was being resolved as we spoke)
My household staff which consists of Emily, houselady; John and David, gardeners and Simon, a once-a-a week gardener, (becuase he has no other income) will each receive a hamper of groceries from me this afternoon. I also buy stewing meat and chicken portions for each of them to cook up with their families in the township on Christmas day. Since they've been in my employ, I have given them each a Christmas / annual bonus. This is a month's salary (thirteenth cheque, as it were) in cash. Next week, as normal, they receive their December salary. But today they are given an extra month's pay. This is all I can do for them; to quote a wise man (with apologies, I forget who!) I am but one, but I am one. So I do what I can.
I wish all my blogger friends a very blessed season with their loved ones. Thanks for your love, visits, comments and kindness during 2009.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
The Longest Day
Back to our Summer Solstice. Yesterday morning I took my camera and walked around my garden taking photos. The dogs were thrilled that I was out there that early and gleefully bounded across the lawns and through the beds (I have a child, insect, bird, pet and human friendly garden - no watching where you walk - you just enjoy every part of it)
So please take a break from all the holiday and season's preparations and walk with me through my garden on this beautiful midsummer's day.
Starting off at the ponds, let's meander across the streams connecting them. Enjoy the bird sounds, can you hear the male Southern Masked Weavers and Orange River White Eyes swizzling? Oh, there's a juvenile Diederick Cuckoo in the peach tree. Hear him calling loudly for his adopted parents (three, yes, three exhausted White-Browed Sparrow Weavers) to come and feed him.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Camping in the Garden
The first morning I could hear the children were awake very early and chattering away to each other. When they came inside, they asked if they could sleep in the tent that (Sunday) night as well. They did.
Monday, December 21, 2009
From Generation to Generation
What piqued my interest, however, was a box at the side of the article which said: "Top 5 things not to pass down to our children"
Here they are:
Debt - Don't expect children to clean up after your mishaps and mistakes.
Prejudice - Here in South Africa we live in a country full of history and diverse people and cultures. Discrimination and intolerance for others leads to hatred and forgets to respect others, forgets open-mindedness and manners.
Receding hairline - Every family has some kind of ailment passed down from generation to generation to a selected few in the family. This is out of your hands, but in the name of Jesus you can cut off those ailments, believing that God will honour your faith and it will not be passed onto your offspring.
A health-hazardous habit - Bad eating habits, smoking or drinking or any other negative lifestyle habit you may acquire in your lifetime, is best stopped with you. For the sake of your little ones, give up any bad habits, replacing them with positive ones. Your children always emulate you. No use saying do as I say. Rather DO the right thing and they will follow suit.
Fear - Whether you are afraid of spiders or failure, your fears should not be passed onto the next generation. Encourage yourself and your children to overcome fears by reciting this amazing Scripture:
"[For God has said:] I will never fail you. I will never forsake you." Hebrews 13:5
Source (with adaptions by me) Weigh-Less magazine (Summer 2009 Edition)
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Midsummer Day Scene
Thanks to all at Scenic Sunday for another year of this wonderful meme.
For more scenes around the world, click here.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Special Family Outing
On Thursday John and Debbie asked if I'd accompany them to the gynaecologist in the city. I did and am I glad I did! It was a wonderful family outing and the first time I'd ever been present at a scanning of the baby in the womb. (When we had children in the seventies, there were no scans or technical devices to show the parents/grandparents what the baby looked while it was being expected.)
Before the allotted time of the appointment, however, we had lunch. To save us the trouble of eating in a restaurant or coffee shop with three small children, we decided to picnic on the lawn outside the doctor's rooms. We bought fresh bread rolls, a ready-made Greek salad, a tub of cottage cheese. We sat on the grass and made our own salad sandwiches and washed them down with ice-cold fresh juice. A really relaxing repast.
We waited in the outer waiting room for about forty minutes before we were called into an "ante-room". Here a nurse took Debbie's blood pressure (much to my three year-old grandson's fascination) and then took her into another side room for further [more personal!] tests and samples.
Next, we were all ushered into ANOTHER room: this time one with a bed, onto which the nurse settled Debbie. There were two large flat tv screens suspended above the bed - one over the pregnant mommy's bed and one in full view of the dad and/or other family.
When Debbie was pregnant with our grandson, his daddy (John) was away at sea. He planned his leave to coincide with the birth extended for six weeks into the life of the newborn. So when Debbie had to go for a check-up and scan in a very advanced stage of her pregnancy, John asked Angus (our younger son) to accompany Debbie to the city. At the same time John and Angus' best friend, Charles, (who later was Angus' best man at his wedding) was visiting Angus. So it was absolutely natural for Charles to accompany Angus who was accompanying his sister-in-law to the gynaecologist. When Debbie entered this room with two men, neither of whom were John, the doctor (who's a jokester of note!) looked up and said, "Which one of you is the father?"
But I digress. Last week, when the gynaecologist eventually came in, he asked me if I was the gran of this HUGE family! He was a dear man who then approached Debbie's bed and by his manner you could see how he put her at ease. When he applied the scanner to her tummy, he looked at the children and asked what they were wishing for. Both the older children immediately said: "A baby brother!"
By now the images had appeared on the screen which I could see and I realised once again, that the miracle of birth will never cease to amaze me. We could see the baby clearly; it moved around all the time. The doctor then turned up the sound and we could hear the heartbeat. He used the cursor to point at and commented about what you were looking at: "There are the two hips seen from the back" ; "These two little knees, perfect" ; "The heartbeat: 64 per minute - excellent" We noticed the little mite lift a hand towards the mouth and the doctor said: "There, it's sucking it's thumb" What a precious moment.
Then six-year-old granddaughter, in a very loud whisper, said: "Gran, is this ALL we came for?"
When our little baby (nine-month-old granddaughter) began to cry because she was tired, cold, (the airconditioning was so high in the room),hungry and had just plainly "had had enough", I told John I would take the children and wait outside while they chatted to the doctor in his rooms.
What bliss when we walked out into the late afternoon summer sun. Wheeling the pram and with the older children beside me, we meandered to the duck pond and waited there for John and Debbie.