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.

A post shared by Marcia Francois (@marcia0608) on


  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?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Guys, I have 8-year-olds

So my two darling children turned 8. I've already bought this book and can't wait to dig in.



If you click through, you'll be able to see the books from all the ages. I highly, highly recommend all of them - they've been a huge help to us through the years. I bought the first one at age 2! And the best is they're short so you can easily read it in two hours (helpful for D who is not a fan of non-fiction).

Anyway, here are some pics of us on their actual birthday. I was so pleased that I insisted because they were the only pics I took that day.

D is taking this with his left hand and we're all trying not to fall over and topple down my steep driveway!


We had separate birthday parties for them - Kendra's on the Friday and Connor's on the Saturday.

We were knackered but both kids had exactly the experience they wanted: K - small, intimate, girls-only, and C - lots of noisy boys!

I'm of two minds if we'll do it the same next year. On the one hand, they both loved it but I prefer D around to help so I can take photos and such. And, as I say, we were exhausted.

D wants them to spread out the parties more like one one weekend and the other two weeks later :)

Anyway, we have a whole 50 weeks to decide on the game plan for when they turn 9!

I will say this - K asked for books for her birthday which was an excellent idea so she got 6 new Enid Blytons and is in heaven!!!

What's going on in your life? What's been happening the last two weeks?

PS I will post about the holiday next :)

Thursday, July 06, 2017

What I read this month - June 2017

June was an interesting reading month.

I read 9 books - only the second month with less than 10 books this year. I do, however, plan to remedy that this month :)



I loved Alec Baldwin's memoir, Nevertheless. It was not as entertaining as Rob Lowe's one, but then again, he's had a much tougher life. And I am now following him and his wife on Instagram, shamelessly stalking them and their gorgeous children :)

I loved the Jodi Picoult (she is becoming a fast favourite, but you have to be in the mood for the heavy topics), the Jill Mansell and a new-to-me author, Milly Johnson.

I also loved Bittersweet much more than I thought I would. Today when I printed out my notes, there were 11 pages :0 I did an Instagram story to show how this works a few weeks ago, but go to your book in Kindle or Kindle app. On the top, click the little page with lines, it says My Notebook, click the box with the arrow pointing up, and Export Notebook to Email. I then print it.

I did not love the Carol Mason. If you like books like The Notebook, you possibly would enjoy that one.

I've also discovered when you highlight something, you can highlight, use that same box with arrow to share and then email just the highlight, or copy it into whatsapp/ Instagram (!!!).

Like this:




Kendra just came to ask me when I plan to do supper so that's all from me for now.

What did you enjoy reading in June? What are you looking forward to reading in July?


Friday, June 23, 2017

Which 5 things are always in your fridge or pantry?


There's quite a lot swirling around my brain (a death of someone I used to do ministry with this week; another divorce; too much work) all of which just stops me in my tracks.

Instead, let's chat about a fun topic like we did in this post.

This question is from the Shauna Niequist podcast but I'm going to tell you 5 food in
I'm going to break it down since that's the way my mind works.



Things I always have in my fridge:
  1. Granny Smith apples
  2. Cheese
  3. Eggs
  4. Yoghurt
  5. Orange juice


That sounds quite boring but it's true - I always have those things. On the rare occasions when I'm sick and I have no appetite, I know I can always eat a yoghurt and apple to be able to take my meds.
 
In fact, Tsh used to ask on her podcast if you had to choose one type of food for the rest of your life, what would you eat? I can't say for sure - some days I think Thai, some days I think Mexican, some days I think Italian.

What about you? What would you eat for the rest of your life?



Things I always have in my pantry:
  1. pasta
  2. cans of tomato 
  3. many, many litres of long-life milk
  4. rice
  5. a can of baked beans/ sweetcorn/ kidney beans/ tuna, etc.
So I can always whip up some supper!

What's always in your fridge or pantry?

PS Connor's list of his 10 favourite foods:
  1. sweet things
  2. curry/ biryani
  3. eggs
  4. pizza
  5. jasmine rice
  6. pasta
  7. juice
  8. water
  9. cucumber
  10. cauliflower

Monday, June 19, 2017

My kids went away this weekend

taken about two months ago


So I've had low-level dread for weeks about my kids going away without us this past long weekend. They went camping in a caravan somewhere in the Pilanesberg.

Three full days and nights is a long, long time for me.

We've been separate from them for this long before but that was when we went to New York. And it's different when you're the ones left in the quiet house and the kids aren't there.

Aside from that time, they've slept out once for 2 nights but we were away too, and everything else (probably 5 - 6 nights in their nearly 8 years) has been a night here and a night there.

Of course D had no such qualms. He always says we all talk too much, and he likes the quiet.

I'm pleased to say I survived, and so did they.

We went out every day, I had friend dates on two nights, read, shopped, etc. and the weekend passed quickly.

I'm still not keen to repeat that a lot but at least I'll know I can do it. 

reunited at last!

Of course yesterday after our reunion, there were lots of tears because they then missed MIL and SIL.

Poor things!

Do you like having your kids go away?
If yes, how long and how often do they go away?

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Reading, reading, reading

Before I tell you about my May books, please tell me if you're on Goodreads....

And if you are, do you use the stats feature? 

Click on My Books, and then Read, and then on the right, you'll see Stats.

Click and play around. If you love numbers, you'll love seeing all the lovely stats.

E.g. Most of this year's books have been read on Kindle.




Okay, onto the books in May:

Most unexpectedly delightful book ever - Sophie Kinsella's Finding Audrey (highly recommend!)

Most discussed book - The One-in-a-million Boy - Monica Wood. This was our book club read, and I also highly recommend it, but do set aside good reading time, not just before bed because you need to sink into it.

Most book with aha moments - Let it go, which is for the control freaks and recovering control freaks among us. I learned that , most notably the section on tools, toys or tangents. I should possibly write a blog post just on that section and social media, since I'm into talking about it these days.

Book I learned the most from - Eve Schaub's The year of sugar. Excellent read but it may scare you away if you love food.

Book I want to hear from people about - At home in the world. Everyone on the internet loves it and for me it was "meh". So am I weird? What is the * factor everyone is getting and not me?

Now, over to you.

Which book have you had the most learning moments from recently? Otherwise which book has been simply delightful?

Friday, June 02, 2017

{Friendship Friday} Uninvited and social media

You all know I'm obsessed with audio books, but I have some internal rules/ boundaries for those too.

I almost always prefer to hear a book read by the author unless they have a terrible voice.

I also noticed that I enjoy hearing Christian non-fiction much more if I listen to it (God's word penetrates my heart more by listening) than if I read it.



(I get about 3c - R0.42 - if you buy the book through this link - too sad!)

So when I read last year that Lysa Terkeurst released a new book, Uninvited, I was so excited but she does not narrate the book.

And the chosen narrator doesn't get super excellent reviews.

So I did the next-best thing: I searched for podcasts with her on it, and that's actually how I found God Centered Mom (and have been hooked ever since!).

It was a great podcast (listen to it here on itunes - it's episode 131) and I wanted to share some things that I learned and am trying to do.



The purpose of her social media page is to invite in, not to exclude

This one really spoke to me. All the pics of friends' faces on Instagram can make other friends feel excluded.

I have been guilty of posting pics and have other friends comment and say "I'm jealous". I don't know if it's a cursory statement or if there is real hurt there. So I've been trying to be mindful of that and instead post pics of the food, or something else so that if the friend wants to out themselves, they can, but when I say "had a great lunch today" that is something we can all appreciate (!) without feeling uninvited.


We are addicted to the likes and acceptance, so post and don't look

She said she challenges herself regularly to post and not even look if there are likes for 24 hours.

I took this one up as a challenge and you'll often see me post something in the morning and I don't look again til after work.

You know what happens? You get on with your real life! It's awesome - more books are read, more kids are played with, more kitchens are cleaned, more recipes are tried (I've tried 24 new recipes in the last 5 months!)

(I've disabled all notifications so I'm not at all tempted, even when my phone is out, to see the "engagement" on my feeds)

Sometimes rejection is God's best protection

She tells herself that if she is "rejected" by someone she wanted to be friends with, maybe that is God's best for her life, especially if she knows she didn't do anything "wrong".

Isn't this good? It definitely helped me with my  "unable to let go" personality.



Friendship hurts are real and valid

It's not like a death that does hurt but is at least final, but with a friendship hurt, someone is choosing to walk away.

I can talk forever on this but let's just say, feelings are completely valid.

Don't bash, hash or trash

That's something she lives by - don't bash your friends, don't hash (re-hash/ over analyse things. If you have an issue, deal with it) and don't trash them even in the "sweet" ways women often do, expressed as concern but is actually gossip.


Use your social media for good - to ease the loneliness ache in others.

Do you think about the way in which you post on social media? That it might hurt others' feelings?
Do you keep checking back to see how many likes your post has?
What really stood out to you?

Friday, May 26, 2017

{Friendship Friday} Old friends


Hey, we haven't done one of these for a long time.

I'm in a weird space with friendship. It might be just this time of year but I don't think so.

On the one hand I feel like I'm too busy with friends. That's actually true because I updated my diaries and such two nights ago and with one week left of May, I'd already had NINE socials. And we're not even having book club in May!

Then again, on the other hand, I feel like I'm just not busy at all.

I suspect that this feeling of space in my life is a God-sized hole for ministry! :)


Anyway, as I continue to pray about it, pray with me if you're the praying sort.

Back to the friends.

I've had a couple of old friend encounters lately. Over 9 days, I had 3 "old friend" encounters which was a real blessing.
  • One friend and I met up after two years. And I recommend the fish tacos at Doppio Zero if you're not too hungry - delish!
  • One friend and I ran into each other at church after probably about 4 years.
  • And then while another friend and I were walking to the parking area in a mall after having lunch together, I ran into my old hairdresser after 7 years.

Wow.

It was so nice.

spying on these 3 from the stairs ;)


And the interesting thing for me was that I just held all these encounters loosely. I didn't feel the need to get out the diaries and schedule time together again. I enjoyed the time together and left on a good note. Very unlike me.

We've spoken on this blog before about how, if you see someone in public, some of us will say hello and others just pretend to not see. ;)

For me, I would feel more awkward ignoring (or pretending to ignore) someone than just going to speak to that person.

What about you? Would you go up and talk to the person?
And do you feel the need to invest if you haven't seen a friend for a long time, or do you hold these experiences loosely?

On a lighter note, what do you have planned for the weekend?

PS I have a date with D, and I plan to read and finish our book club book!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Which 3 things are most contributing to your happiness right now?


 

This is the fun thing about podcasts.

There's the topic (which is the thing that's published) but most of the podcasts also have some questions they always ask their guests.

Shauna Niequist (she wrote Bittersweet - still on my Kindle! - Bread and Wine (joint favourite non-fiction of 2014 with the Nesting Place), Savor, Present over Perfect, and my favourite essay about using your stuff) just started a podcast (this Monday was episode 3!) and in addition to the usual stuff, she asks her guests fun things about food, cooking and the question above.

Since I don't have my own podcast, let's just pretend you're all my guests.



The 3 things that most contribute to my happiness right now are:

the gorgeous visuals of autumn (I can't get enough!)
I've been on two dedicated photohunts already and still, I keep driving by trees and thinking, "oh! I really should come back with my big camera to take more pics!"

(Jeanette, if you're still reading, the place where we met for lunch on Rivonia has AMAZING leaves!)

podcasts
I decluttered about 15 in April, and I found a ton more. Maybe I had to let go to find new good ones?

I've discovered a thing - I can actually fast forward when there's too much preamble I'm not interested in. I always knew this could be done but I was too much of a good girl to actually do it.

new jeans
I bought some new jeans at Pick 'n Pay clothing and they are tighter so I don't have to roll the top over. So much happiness!

This is not a "what I wore on Friday" blog so you'll just have to see them in person.

So, tell me.

Which 3 things are most contributing to your happiness right now?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

New work rhythms




I've been working from home 1 day a week probably for just over a year now.

This only happens if there is a day with no meetings, so during busy periods there just are meetings every day, which kind-of sucks :)

After one of the holiday weeks, I think it might have been the week after the Easter weekend, we had meetings daily and it about killed me. I was exhausted on the Friday.

It's fascinating to me how quickly I got used to that extra day out of the office. Because whether that day is a Tues, Wed or Thurs, it does mean that I never have to go to the office for more than 3 days in a row.

Before you all think I'm extremely spoiled, let me remind you that a good day in traffic is 45 minutes one way.

Yes, it's long but it's good podcasting or audio book time.



So let's talk about my work rhythms when I'm at home.
  1. I take it super slow in the morning. What I should do and only do about 20% of the time is read. Mostly I scroll Instagram.
  2. I shower, dress, etc. at my leisure (while listening to a podcast) and eat breakfast while reading.
  3. Then I get to work and I make sure I do all my good work until 2.25 til I have to leave to fetch the kids. One of my delights in life is doing the mom thing. 
  4. I walk to fetch them and we chat while walking back. It's very sweet to see their little friends and hear them calling to me as C's mom or K's mom.
  5. I then quickly make our lunch (my love language is acts of service, so I love doing this kind of thing) , take my food back to the computer and eat while I continue working.
  6. I usually end a bit early - around 4. But sometimes it's like a full day and I end at 6ish. I'm task-oriented so I know what I want to get done and I work til it's done.


Today was a work from home day and I went on a quick photo hunt for autumn photos at lunch, and when I finished work, I went to the shops for (more) long-sleeved school shirts. On other days, I might run an errand or two, or meet a friend for lunch or tea. Next week, I need to go get two small things sorted on my car.

It's actually the absolute best of both worlds.

I love being at home because of all the above... and I love being in the office because... people! and stuff going on! and sorting stuff out with internal departments. And if the people there annoy me a bit, I tell myself, only a day or two til I get a break and get to work from home :)

I'm writing this mostly to remind me of how much my current role suits my skill set and my lifestyle, especially as this is the start of Busy Season.

So what do you like about your current job? Does it work with your introvert/ extrovert self?

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