Friday, October 20, 2017

What a great month of reading


Last month I had a great month of reading. About 8 - 10 books are average for me, but the additional is definitely due to not having the internet for 24 days :)

The stats
Fiction/ non-fiction: 8/5
Physical/ Kindle/ Audible: 3/2/8

The fiction highlights
  1. Every last one - Anna Quindlen (my first Anna Quindlen novel and it won't be the last - absolutely beautiful writing)
  2. The Park - Gail Schimmel (this was a gift from a friend and I loved it! This is how I like a South African novel to be written, not like Tannie Sannie. But it's really a novel about friendship and boundaries, one of my favourite topics)
  3. Uncoupled - Lizzie Enfield (I just really liked the story. This is about marriage. I'm loving stories about this stage of life - marriage, kids, career, and how they all fit together)


The non-fiction highlights
The Four Tendencies - of course. I adored this book, have 15 pages of notes and I can't wait to start blogging about it. I listen to every single episode of Happier, have read all her books and still, I learned such a lot about me, and about my family. Do I have any upholder friends reading? I want to discuss some things 1:1 with someone who has the same tendency besides my husband. D and I are both upholders, but I lean towards Questioner and he leans towards Obliger.

I enjoyed almost everything but these were just the 4 that stood out above the rest.

For full reviews and star ratings on all, check out my goodreads :)

What were the highlights of your reading month?

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Wishing, looking, making and drinking

  
 

Making: myself go crazy trying to choose a diary for next year

Cooking: newish things like fish tacos and reverse cottage pie (fish tacos were in my instagram stories on Monday night)

Drinking : water with a squeeze of lemon juice. Alternatively, tea.

Reading: Frientimacy, Present over Perfect, and The Chocolate Lovers Wedding

Trawling: through CNA and Exclusive Books

Wanting: my kids to stop fighting

 

Looking: at the beautiful jacarana trees outside my window (not in my garden, but in the streets outside)

Deciding: menu plans over and over again, it seems. And I don't even have a lot of kids but it's like mine always want to know what's for snack or supper...
 
Wishing: for reasonable accommodation in Cape Town. I'm dreaming, right?



 
Enjoying: catch-ups with friends

Waiting: for prayers to be answered

Liking: my Barre180 class because even though it feels a bit boring too me (I like high energy exercise), I'm seeing results

Wondering: about the Enneagram, and if it typed me correctly!


What are you wishing, looking, making and wondering about?

Monday, October 09, 2017

Monday musings

I could do with some avocado toast right about now :)


Hope you had a great weekend!


1. We've had the best 3 - 4 days recently. Grey, rainy, overcast, interspersed with a few hours of sunlight and completely hygge-worthy. I've been working, reading, drinking tea, and taking walks outside just after the rains, because those are my favourite times ever. I love the smell of the earth after the rains and the light is just gorgeous. The reflection of the sun on the green leaves gets me every time.

Have you been enjoying the weather?



2. My washing machine broke. I said on Instagram stories that it was after 17 years because it's at least that. I need to take out the household file to check. Because of the machine being a Defy (You can rely on defy), I'm partial to Defy but I bought a Bosch last night. Let's hope it lasts forever too :)

There is a story with the washing machine. A few weeks ago I came down into the kitchen to pick up my lunch before going to work and the washing machine was making this knocking sound.

me: what is that sound?!

nanny S: (very casually) oh, it's the washing machine. it always makes that sound.

me: that's not normal, S.

(but I was rushing and didn't remember til she announces on Friday afternoon that the washing machine is broken, to which I said, "that's WONDERful")



3. I finished reading Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. Don't say anything about it yet.... so my brain is untarnished by opinions until book club :)

Speaking of book club, we're expanding. If you're interested in joining us, let me know personally or in the comments.

What's on your mind this Monday morning?


Friday, September 22, 2017

Friendship Friday - on being the initiator (part 543, or so it feels)



I feel like we've spoken a lot on the blog about being the initiator.

I have gone through so many iterations of initiating and before listening to the podcast I spoke about here, I think I'd finally settled on being the initiator in my mind like this:
  1. Yes, it is true that I do take action quickly so to get the item ticked off my list, I'm happy to initiate so that it's done. The whole dance of "yes, we must get together" over and over gets old for me real quick.
  2. If I initiate, I can first check my calendar and make sure the time and date suit the rest of my life before proposing a date.
  3. My one introvert friend told me that the introverts don't like reaching out, so I give extra grace for the introverts ;)
  4. I have completely stopped initiating with friends where there is zero reciprocity. That's not to mean we're not friends, but I am free from using my energy to reach out. And I do feel free.




All of that sounds good, right?

It is good. Mostly...

Since I stopped initiating so much, I’m obviously much less busy with socials. I've also found that my world is getting smaller; I realised the other day that I'm never out at night anymore, because I no longer see the two friends I used to meet for supper. I only drive 5 minutes to Spanish while it's dusk and back again in the dark.

I don't think this is good because I don't want to become one of those people who lives in a tiny bubble and never ventures further than 5 minutes away, as convenient as that is.

That's the one thing.



As I mentioned above, I'm not completely cutting people off because (1) that's not my style and (2) in the podcasts I listened to on the Never Unfriended book, she said that we can pull back but we shouldn't shut the door, which I love.

I recently felt that God was therefore saying to hold all this stuff loosely and really only do things from a good heart. God loves a cheerful giver, right? So if I’m feeling resentful about reaching out, maybe that’s not the best time to do it. But when I do think about someone, to use that impetus and contact them there and then.

This seems to be working for me.

What do you think?

I know most of you reading this post do not enjoy initiating.

My questions are: 1) do you still see your friends enough? or are you happy to only see your friends rarely? or 2) are your containers so well set up that that is the reason you don't need to initiate? 3) how do you make it all work for you?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Books I read in August, the Iranian version


Despite having the very best intentions for my birthday month's reading, I did not have the best month for reading (I tell you, it's all the socials!).

However, I read two fantastic books I want to tell you about later.

Total books read: 8
Non-fiction: 3
Fiction: 5

Most disappointing book: My name is Lucy Barton

Despite getting wonderful reviews all over the internet, yes, there were a few things that I loved but I didn't enjoy it very much at all.

The saving grace was it was short.

Other books I really didn't like and the internet loved? The Royal We and Where'd you go, Bernadette.



Moving on to our book club reads...

Crazy Rich Asians 3*- this one is going to be made into a movie and it is perfect movie material.

Glamour, riches, style, love, etc.

The Idea of You 4*- this one made me think about my infertility. I'd forgotten how all-consuming it was at the time. Sigh.

Lovely book.

I posted a quote on Instagram from this book :)

But now, for the two 4.5 star books.



I'd started listening to Funny in Farsi: A memoir of growing up Iranian in America but I listen only in the car (3 days a week) and usually only on the way to work because I'm too tired to concentrate after work.

I'd listened to maybe an hour if that, and then that weekend I happened to read Anne Tyler's Digging to America.

It's the story of two families who adopted kids from China at the same time, and how they stay friends through the years of the story.


This is not a book you read like a thriller; instead it's a beautiful story about relationships. My only regret is that I didn't read this on Kindle because I wanted to highlight so many parts.

Gorgeous book. Terisha, you should definitely read it.


Anyway, so then the following week, I listened to the rest of Funny in Farsi, and I think having just come off another book about Iranian people just made me love this one all the more.

So that was a good week of reading for me.

Tell me, have you read any Anne Tyler? This was my first one. If yes, which do you recommend I read next?

I definitely recommend both of those books very much! And do get the audible version which is read by the author!

What was the best book you read in August?

Friday, September 08, 2017

Friendship Friday - on having friendship containers

Sometimes we don't know until listening to an episode if it's one we want to discuss for Podcast Club. We both loved this episode so much that we each listened to it twice 👍🏼 and immediately afterwards I bought the book. . . One of my biggest aha moments was that you need a container for friendship. E.g. if you're work friends and you haven't cultivated the friendship outside of the work container, it'll probably fizzle if one of you leaves that employer. . . Have you found that this has been true for you with work, or another "container" like church, a class, etc.? . . PS podcast club is a container for us 😊 . . PPS from @jenhatmaker's podcast - episode 3 with @shastamnelson . . . . . . . #podcastclub #marcialovespodcasts #bujo #bulletjournal #bulletjournallove #bulletjournalcommunity #bulletjournaljunkies #schneiderpen
A post shared by Marcia Francois (@organisingqueen) on

So let's discuss this podcast episode.

It's Jen Hatmaker interviewing Shasta Nelson on friendship. (you can listen at that link, read the transcript, whatever floats your boat)

This lady says there are three things to a good friendship:
  1. consistency
  2. vulnerability
  3. positivity

 All great stuff. Do take a listen.

The one thing I want to talk about today is on the containers piece.


She said that when we have work friends, for example, and one of us leaves that place of employment, if you haven't built that container outside of work, then the friendship fades/ stops in almost all cases.

The container was work.

This also applies to containers like church, clubs, gym, kids' pre-schools, etc.

It's so true for me. The only friendships from my previous company that have survived are those that already had other containers in place.

The rest - gone. And if you know me, not for lack of trying a bit from my side.

So what she says for friendships to flourish, either a container must exist (go to gym together/ run together/ craft together, etc) or one of the parties will have to initiate the get togethers.

It's kind of obvious but like great insights, it takes someone spelling it out for us!



I have 4 containers in my life - work, book club, spanish dance and podcast club (although since our curriculum ended, it's been a bit loose).

The scheduling for the book- and podcast clubs are on my end so take a little bit more admin, but they work.

And it is true - the friendships that I feel are really satisfying for me are set up with recurring meetings (I have two) and I love not having to think about them, and just knowing that they're there to anticipate and enjoy when the time arrives.

Now I have some questions for you:

What are the containers in your life? Do you have friendships inside those containers only, or have you extended them outside of the container too?

PS This is not all I wanted to say but this post is already too long. Meet me back here next Friday? :) 
PPS Here's an excellent post (well, the excellence is mostly in the comments!) on female friendship

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

The less you blog, the less you blog :)



I have such good intentions but at the end of the day, I suppose I want to read more than I want to blog. Or listen to podcasts and edit photos more than I want to blog #sorrynotsorry

On the bright side, I'm so up to date with photos it doesn't even feel like me, best it's been in years.

I am trying to be a better steward of my time though so I've been tracking (very loosely) what I do every evening.

And now that I write down every evening what I did (again, verrrrry loosely), I'm aware that I have much more time than I think I do, and the same is true at work.

So I'm going to try to be more mindful so I can use all the time better.



But let's talk about August.


Life (and every month) is made up of both good and not-so-good things. It's just the way it is; as Glennon Doyle says, "life is brutiful"

Good things
  1. I had a birthday and I did a full birthday review like I do every year. Here's a little write-up of my process.
  2. Lots of friend dates, a podcast club discussion on friendship... but we'll talk about that another time
  3. I got all my work goals done.
  4. I finally tried out a barre180 class and as a result, I moved fitness clubs.
  5. Tried three new recipes, one for book club.

Could have been better things
  1. I feel like I missed out on some of winter :(
  2. Only had 1 walk
  3. I'm feeling a bit...weird about friendship. So yes, I need to write about that podcast!

What I learned
 This :)

 

How was your August?

Monday, August 21, 2017

Books I read in July

Edited to add:

Thank you for all the great comments on my last post. I don't know if it's the topic or the 3 weeks without a blog post :) but I loved the engagement!

*****************************************

Gosh and golly!

I realised the other day that I didn't ever post about my July reads.
 


My July numbers:

Books read: 10.... and with those 10, I reached my reading goal of the year, 72.
Non-fiction: 3
Best non-fiction: Born a crime 4.5*
(the other two are blogger books which are never my favourite genre)

a note on Born a Crime - if you've read it and would like to discuss, I'm hosting a group Skype call soon. Comment and let me know as I want to schedule it for mid-September. 

Fiction: 7 
Best fiction: A Window Opens - Elisabeth Egan 5*
Honourable mentions: In twenty years (I love reunion books :)) and Summer House which made me think a lot about ageing.

This month I started a new page in my bullet journal - my books read page.

I continued and did a similar page this month - it's quick to update and helps when I'm doing my big Goodreads update every month.

What have you read recently that was a pleasant surprise?

Mine was A Window Opens - I LOVED it - surprisingly so or maybe because I hadn't heard about it all over the internet? Hmmmm.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A few thoughts on friendship, not on a Friday - is it all worth it?




I have so much I want to say about lots of different topics (within the friendship category) but in the interest of time, let me just get this out.

So yesterday I was at work and two colleagues were talking about how they don't have friends and their family are their friends.

And anyway, the whole friendship thing is such a drag, lots of work, drama, etc.

Do you think I kept quiet?

If you said no, you would be correct.


Obviously I piped up and said that yes, it is "work" and Lord knows, we've spoken enough on this blog about how someone has to be the initiator, and yes, there can be drama, etc. but through all that, I would still remain open to friendships and invest in friendships because through all that, I still think it's worth it.

Even going through friendship drama has taught me things about myself, like where I need to strengthen boundaries, how I need to show more of God's love in some instances and whether, in the interest of reaching out, I'm actually overextending myself because others don't care. All valuable lessons.

One colleague mentioned that it's perhaps because I'm an extrovert and I need people, that I feel this way.

They are both introverts and told me that once they're home, they are all peopled out and are quite happy never to see another soul except their family in the evenings and on the weekend.



So then two things popped into my mind:

Gosh! Do some of my friends also feel this way? And perhaps that's why when things get a bit hard sometimes (busyness, sick kids, overwhelm) it's easier just to withdraw?
I need to ask the internet :)

Tell me - how do you feel? Is friendship worth it? When the going gets tough, do you give up easily or do you persist?

I'm very curious to hear!

In 90 mins, it's podcast club. Julia and I are talking about a friendship episode and I need to write about that too. So fascinating!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Tuesday Talk on friendships and Trevor Noah

Gosh, I keep thinking, “today is the day I will blog” and then I get sidetracked and instead blog on OrganisingQueen, edit photos or read.

 So let’s just start, shall we? I’m literally the only one in the office - such a rarity – so I’m taking a few minutes to get writing!

Yesterday I had a great friend day.

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  1. I caught up with a friend after travelling to a client meeting and it was so good to chat over a quick lunch in the soft winter sun. These catch ups are always too short but we both had to get back to work. And I always say, something is better than nothing. One of my secrets of adulthood. 
  2. Then I left a whatsapp voice message (best things ever!) for another friend wishing her happy birthday (I was a day late!) and she responded to say she’d emigrated! What the what?! So the minute I got home and started warming supper, I whatsapp called her and we had a good 35-minute chat. Divine! 
  3. It’s actually been quite the month. I wrote this on Instagram. And since then, I learned of so many more deaths. They have been very concentrated but also, I suppose it's this age...

But let's end on a lighter note.

I finished listening to Trevor Noah's book on Sunday night. We are going to have a Skype Group Chat soon-ish (after middle of August) so if you intend reading it, I highly recommend it and we can all talk about it.

D and I spoke about this book and nothing else for over an hour yesterday. So interesting to hear different people's points of view.

Let me know if you're in. If you commented on my Instagram post, ,no need to do so here - I will invite from the comments on this and that post.

Oh, I listened to the Audible version but D read the physical book. I obviously prefer a memoir narrated by the author so I'd recommend Audible if you can (only 8.5 hours).

What's been happening in your world?

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