Friday, December 01, 2017

Cheers from this upholder!

This space hasn't been sparking joy for me for a long time.

We all know that nobody reads normal blogs any more and if I'm sharing, I feel like I want others to share too otherwise I'm speaking into the ether (kind of like how I've always hated Twitter). And I still really like my time investment to be worthwhile.

But for some reason, possibly my Upholder-ness, I felt like I needed to continue since I started blogging 11 years ago. This is post 2420. Way too much talking.

However, here's the great thing.

Since I read the Four Tendencies, I realised that this is an Upholder thing - this continuing with a self-imposed goal even when it no longer makes sense.

And interestingly, that was all the awareness I needed to stop doing many things in my life.

One of which is blogging here. I briefly entertained the idea of ending this year first but why have another random date in the future.

I'll be sharing life (mini-blogs!) on my personal Instagram so those on Instagram can connect with me there @marcia0608 or on my OrganisingQueen feed.

And of course, I'm still blogging over at OrganisingQueen if you are interested in living life more intentionally, goals, organising and so on.

The nice thing is that the friendship containers that exist outside of the blog are still there so now I get to connect with friends in real life/ on the phone when we want, which actually sounds quite.... perfect.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

{Friendship} An Initiator Mantra and a solution for me



Guys, I took such a long time to read this book, purely because it reads more textbook-y than I'm used to.

Still, there are a lot of good things I highlighted (15 pages worth!) and I wanted to share this one quote with you.

"An Initiator Mantra 
I am the primary initiator in my relationships—not because there is something wrong with me, but because there is something right with me. 
I initiate because I value more connection in my life. 
I initiate because a relationship requires it in order to get any momentum, and I can give that gift. 
I initiate because this world needs more people who prioritize relationships, and I'm willing to be one of them. 
I initiate because I'm the one who knows the benefit of more connection. 
I initiate because I am brave, because I value love, and because I am ready for more." 

(from "Frientimacy: How to Deepen Friendships for Lifelong Health and Happiness" by Shasta Nelson)

Start reading it for free: http://a.co/9zSuADc



Where on the scale do you currently fall with initiating in friendship?

I probably used to be a 9.5. Now I'm a 5 - this is what I meant with how I'm sooo not busy these days.

D told me I need to decide on what my happy medium is and just do that. E.g. if I'm prepared to initiate with a friend 4 times a year, do that and be happy. And if no other initiation happens, then at least that makes me happy.

I think that's where I'm going.

What do you guys do? Where on the initiating scale are you? Do you have lots of Christmas socials to look forward to?

Monday, November 20, 2017

Let's talk about Christmas



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1. What is your favourite Christmas Movie/s?
 I'm not really into movies but by co-incidence, one of my favourite movies, The Holiday, is actually set at Christmas. 

2. Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
Christmas morning after church. I believe in first things first, and our kids have never known any different so they don't feel like they're missing out.

3. Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
These days my favourite memories are of us decorating - the tree and house - while I play a couple of Christmas CDs. It is the best. 

4. Favourite festive food?
My mother's roast potatoes, Christmas mince pies with custard, and so on :)

5. Favourite Christmas gift?
I like to keep my expectations very low.... but I'll admit that they're usually the To Marcia, from Marcia gifts :)

But actually, I do remember one Christmas I received two Christmas mugs and a packet of Woolworths shortbread biscuits from a friend. Obviously the biscuits were eaten very quickly but every year I use those mugs for about 6 - 7 weeks and I'm so happy when I use them. And every year, I take a pic of my mug and a mince pie, and send it to this friend :)

6. Favourite Christmas scent?
Food?

Favourite Christmas CDs?
I added this question in as I can't believe there's nothing about music.
The Plain Truth's Christmas CDs - all of them - there are 3. I've gifted them to friends and I don't know if they were a hit, but I LOVE their version of O Holy Night. I also sent just the single to a few people, never heard back, so not sure if they couldn't redeem it or just didn't like it and didn't know what to say, or what. Oh well. It truly was the thought :)

I also like Mariah Carey's one (get it!), Michael Buble's one and Rod Stewart's Christmas CDs.
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7. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?
Does cooking count? I always seem to be either cooking or cleaning.
 
8. What tops your tree?
An African angel that my friend, Roz, bought for me. She bought one for a lot of us that year, and I love using mine each year.
 
9. As a kid what was the one (crazy, wild, extravagant) gift you always asked for but never received?
We never had expectations around gifts so I can't remember anything.
But as an adult I always ask for experience or consumable gifts and I never get any.
 
10. What's the best part about Christmas for you?
Jesus. Seriously. It's not Christmas for me until I've been to church and sung O Holy Night. 

Idea for this post from Laura and from this blog

Tell me about your Christmas - just the first thing that comes to mind :)

Friday, November 10, 2017

{Friendship Friday} What do you enjoy these days?

Hello everybody

Let's do something fun for the few Fridays we have left this year.


What's one thing you're celebrating or enjoying these days?

I'll go first.

I've been going through a thing with glasses (drinking glasses).

I kept eyeing these lovely blue glasses at Mr P Home and then I cracked one day and bought 4.

Love them.

Then on the weekend we went to Checkers after church and I saw these gorgeous ones. I wanted to buy 6 but Connor told me to get 8 :)


That's what I'm particularly enjoying these days - my new drinking glasses. It makes having a glass of water so much more pleasurable.

And if you follow me on Insta, you'll know I'm celebrating jacaranda season, big time :)

What's one thing you're celebrating or enjoying these days?

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Listening, Cringing, Wearing - what's going on in your life?

Hello!

I'm trying a new thing where I'll be writing about my books on OrganisingQueen, mainly because of how I mostly talk about books on that Instagram.

So, here's what I read in October, with my top fiction and non-fiction reads.


Loving: seeing the beautiful purple carpets of jacaranda flowers in Joburg.
Pondering: on how my life seems to be getting smaller and how I'm not okay with that, but not sure how to change it.
Listening: to podcasts, audio books and my kids bickering
Considering: how to change up my freebie for next year. If you don't have the Time Management Purpose Pack yet, get it now. Also, any ideas welcome.
Buying: new specs for a child whose specs were stolen at school
Watching: the view through my window at work


Hoping: the kids adjust to the mini-cricket quickly. There is no problem waking up early but they get super grumpy and tired in the afternoons. Like suicide hour, but early!
Marvelling: at how quickly I online ordered something and
Cringing: at how that thing was exactly what I did not expect (I asked for a refund and that's been processed
Needing: a break. I'm feeling quite short-tempered with some clients which is my "sign"
Smelling: my new Nivea oil-based vanilla body lotion (it is DIVINE)
Wearing: lots of ballerina pumps and flip flops.



I thought that might be a fun way to catch up quickly with what's going on in my life.

Please do on your blog, if you're still blogging, or tell me a bit about what's going on with you in the comments.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Let's talk about hair

I've been doing Brazilian Blowaves for the last 6 years.

The lady I've been going to for the last 3 years or so suddenly changed her products. I don't know if I wrote about it here but the first time I was hesitant to confront her because I've been going there since I was pregnant....I even take Connor to get his hair cut there.

Anyway, eventually I said something and she was hugely apologetic, and when I went to get it redone, she said two other customers complained after me.

Right.

Sorted.

Then it happened again and again.

Well, if my hair were uniformly curly, no problem, but half my head was curly and the bottom third was straight. Disaster.

Eventually, I decided not to go back. I don't have the time to sit there every time for additional 2-hour blocks of time.

So I went to Sorbet, explained my story and they tried to sell me on their things too.

Too much info so I left (this is what I do) but then there was a special of some sort and they got me back in there for a blowdry and a very nice lady explained just 2 options to me.

I was back and forth about it (R1200!) but eventually I decided that they said if I'm not happy, I don't have to pay, so off I went.

I was/ am thrilled!

Took me 2.5 hours on a hot Saturday afternoon to get a KST for long hair, but my hair's been lovely ever since.

That's the one thing.

The next thing is the grey.

I've mentioned here before that I've been going grey since I was 25. I colour my own hair but am lazy because my Spanish ladies told me they do theirs every 3 weeks. Way too much hassle.

I have no issues with moral/ feminist/ whatever the current cause is - to colour or not to colour. I colour because personally I don't want to be grey. That's it. I have a colleague at work, 3,5 years older than I am, who is growing out her grey. She says she's sick and tired of the hassle. It's a good 10 cm out now and she got quite a bit of comments at first but people are used to it so no-one says anything anymore.

There's no denying it though; it's a huge schlep to colour. So I colour, and then I wait until I cannot take the sight of the grey roots anymore, and then I'll colour again. Probably about 6 weeks.

But..... I discovered a thing at Clicks called Loreal Magic Retouch for R99. You spray it onto your roots (not very well, in my case) but it works great. Washes out but it isn't too transferable. E.g. if I smooth my hair, no brown colour comes off on my hands, but if I scratch my head, I will see brown colour. In other words, you have to put a bit of effort in to remove some colour.

I have no point to the story but just wanted to tell you about my hair :)

Tell me about your hair - are you happy with it? Do you colour for pleasure or necessity? Do you think about growing your grey out?

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
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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?

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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