Saturday, December 4, 2010

My Dad

My dad's life is over I heard today. My heart feels sad yet I will rejoice. No more pain or sorrow or tears for him. In every little yellow flower I shall see his smiling face and in my children's songs his wonderful voice lives on. When I look at all the many pics he took of me I know that he loved me more than he ever said. I shall remember his art, the Christmas lights he put up each year, his old black and white movies - being the joker at the social gatherings with family and friends - he loved his books and he loved romance and he loved life. I see him in that yellow knitted pullover that he wore so often when I was a child and I miss the good times but I shall find joy in the journey...that's what he wanted me to do.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

God is in control

My youngest daughter just finished off her last school exams ever! My eldest daughter is getting married in two weeks time. With the good news comes the bad news. My Dad is very ill and we don't know how much longer we will have him with us and if he is even going to make it to the wedding.
God remains in control. He is before things, and in Him all things hold together. Collosians 1:17.
I shall hold onto His promises. He is eternal. I will place my entire trust and faith in the living Christ. I will survive! Yes Lord, the workmanship of Your creation bears testimony to Your great glory. Amen

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Old autograph books

How many of you guys still have your old autograph books? I found mine the other day. Messages written in the sixties and early seventies gave me a good laugh but then there were serious ones a few life lessons too. Some of the friends who wrote in them have probably long fogotten me but because of these small cherished books of mine, they will always have a special place in my heart.

Here are a few of them:

All good brothers love their sisters
But I, so good, have grown
To love somebody else's sister
Far better than my own!

My brother

Never trouble Trouble
'Till trouble Troubles you.


When you cry, you cry alone,
But when you laugh,
the whole world laughs with you.


It's hard to part with
friends you love,
It's hard to say 'Good-bye',
But it's harder still to find the towel
When soap gets in your eye!


Love is silly,
Love is sad,
Love is futile,
Love is mad,
Love is a sorrow,
Love is a curse,
Not being in love is worse!


Great heights reached by men,
and kept:
were not attained by sudden flight:
But they while their companions slept;
were toiling through the night.

G. de Klerk (a teacher)

Love is like an old Ford car
Easy to start
But darn hard to stop.


Silence is golden.

True friends are like diamonds
So precious and rare.
Others are like autumn leaves
Scattered everywhere.


I thought and thought,
but all in vain,
At last I thought,
I would write my name.


You owe so much to yourself
that you cannot afford
to owe anything to anyone else.

Mrs van Schoor (a teacher)

I cried because I had no shoes
until I saw a man without feet.

My Dad

If you have a mother
Love her while you may.
For the world is quite a different place,
the day she is taken away.

Mrs Dance (a teacher)

That smile that you send out,
returns to you.


The light of true friendship is like the light of phosphor
You will see it best when all is dark.

S. Hofmeyr (a teacher)

Oh Henry please dont kiss me!
Oh Henry please don't kiss!
Oh Henry please don't!
Oh Henry please!
Oh Henry!


When your life on earth has ended
And your path no more is trod
May your name in gold be written
In the autograph of God.


We are seldom sorry that we said too little
But quite often that we said too much.

Mr Peens (a teacher)

The shortest poem in the world
Hired Tired Fired

Life is not a vacation
but an education
And the lesson for everyone...
how to love more.

My Mom

Friday, November 12, 2010

On a piece of paper

When I helped out at a recyling depot some years ago, I found this scribbled in a childlike manner on a tattered piece of paper. I have no idea who wrote these words but another blogger's post reminded me of them once again.

When faced with a mountain
I will not quit
I will keep on striving
until I climb over
find a path through
tunnel under
or simply stay
and turn the mountain into a goldmine
with God's help.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Small pleasures

Some things made me grin from ear to ear the last couple of days! Thought I would share a few of them with you.
My neighbour's husband gave her the most magnificent bouquet of flowers for their anniversary - they went on holiday shortly after and I was the neighbour she thought it suitable to so kindly give it to!
Then I found a beautiful new silk scarf with roses on it for next to nothing at Oasis Recycling's little shop.
The Pomegranate tree which my husband planted a few years ago is finally showing some signs of small fruit just as I was beginning to lose all hope!

I promised my daughter that I would create a few items for her to sell at her stall for a market day and so I created some greeting cards. I was inspired by another blogger who makes felt birds and am pleased to say everyone seems to find mine quite delightful as well.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

My favourite charity


On Saturday morning I attended a yearly Thank you spring tea at St Luke's Hospice for the fifth time. As usual I came home feeling enriched by the speakers, delightful music and the wonderful company. Death is not always an easy subject and actually a topic most people try to avoid. I learnt how Hospices, remarkably can be happy places for the dying. It was brought to my attention once again that one matters because you are you, and you matter to the last moment of your life. Hospice care includes not only being cared for, being cleared of pain but can help to prepare the mind for death and spiritually as well (if they so desire). The family too can be councelled to come to terms with the situation. All of this is given, irrespective of the patient's ability to pay for these services!

I never want life to only start for me when I die. I realised once again that one should not wait until your life is dangling by a thread to live but to live every day as if it was your last - And I am left wondering yet again about what really is important in life and whether I have all my priorities right.

The picture above is that of a large tree in the beautiful St Luke's garden. It is lit every December with a small ceremony. One can purchase a light to be added if you would like to bring a small tribute to a loved one who passed away.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Apple for the teacher

I always wanted to be a teacher but somehow it just never worked out that way. I think the reason that two of our children are school teachers might stem from this longing that they picked up from their mother! Well two years ago, at fifty something, I bravely decided to do the TEFL course (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). I loved every minute of it and started teaching at a school for English soon after the practical. After a bad fall and dislocating my arm I stopped for a while. This year I thought to myself that if I have the tools to teach English as a foreign language, then surely I can teach Afrikaans (my home language) as a second language? I have since started teaching a little boy who is struggling with Afrikaans. I am pleased to say that he is doing really well and becoming far more confident with speaking and writing Afrikaans! I have been looking forward to these afternoon lessons with James and I am keen to take on more students.
Who would have thought that after all these years my dream would have come true?

Monday, September 20, 2010


Last week was a busy one. In a way that is a good thing as I did not get a chance to ponder too much on all the emotions it brought with it. Firstly it was my eldest daughter's graduation ceremony. I felt a wave of pride rush over me when her name was finally called out and she was handed that well deserved Master's degree. We know how hard it was to persevere with the studying while having to pursue a full time teaching job. She did so well though, balancing her relationship with David, (her fiance who supported her much during this time) and even starting a new hobby, namely running. The running brought a smile to our faces as when she was a little girl whe could hardly even make it for a walk around the block and which went along with lots of grumbling and moaning. In fact the Masters degree in Education is quite something too as she really did not enjoy her school years that much and mainly looked forward to attend the art classes. Well Monique, no one can be prouder and I look forward to seeing what other wonderful surprises your life has in store for us to observe and we feel so privileged to be to be part of it.

I rushed from the one function to the next - it was the matric lunch for the girls and their moms. My matric daughter waited patiently for me at the gate. I glanced at the familiar uniform and thought...only a few months more! The tables were set in cheerful spring colours and we were welcomed by some of her best friends and their moms. During the speeches we were reminded of the big world that awaits these beautiful young ladies in 2011! Not long to go then it is the final exams for our youngest! Mischa I wish you well...the world is your oyster!

I found this poem many years ago not realising how quickly the years will pass and my own girls will be all grown up!


Yesterday, a lovely child
Enchanting those she meets
Pouring tea for favorite dolls
Begging Mom for sweets...
All too soon a leggy girl
Discovering boys and clothes,
Spending hours before a mirror
Powdering her nose...
Presently a woman grown,
A tender bud unfurled,
Ready now to prove herself
Before a watchful world!

D.J. Faulhaber

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Happy Food

Can food make you happy? Well, I thought that food should be eaten to keep us healthy and give us energy. When a meal is nicely presented and tasty, it's an added bonus. But then I read this thought provoking article in my son's Men's magazine. The writer suggested that there are certain foods that contain some elements which could give us a general feeling of well-being. I am impressed as to what eating more of some of these yummy morsels have done for my serotonin levels!
I will mention some of them for those of you who like this idea. Please let me know if you have tried them and whether you found them to make a difference.

Green beans - rich in magnesium
Butternut squash - peel chop and roast in olive oil with rosemary as it will help to keep your nerve cells alive
Chocolate - rather not too much of this one but it does release the endorphins
Cottage cheese - could help you nod off when you cannot get to sleep
Butter beans - brings on feelings of motivation and pleasure
Sesame seed - people with depression have low levels of the amino acid threonine and it can be found found in sesame seed.
Portobello mushrooms - for the Vitamin B3 as a deficiency can lead to depression
Liquorice - yay! it helps the body to deal with stress and contains isoflavan and isoflavene, used to treat the symptoms of depression
Cauliflower - it has a spirit-raising vitamin
Carrots - carrots are high in the vitamin Biotin and a deficiency of this could cause depression and fatigue
Walnuts - an excellent source of Omega-3's which help brain cells and moodlifting neurotransmitters to function properly
Sweetcorn - the vitamin B1 found in these little yellow kernels will improve mood, alertness and energy even after just a few months of adding sweetcorn to our meals

A few of the other foods that were mentioned are:
wheat, oranges, hummus, grapefruit, brazil nuts, parsley, tuna and lentils.

Honestly, I do think there is something to this.


Don’t let meals depress you
Rather ward off the blues
With fresh veggies, protein and pudding too!

Foods that cheer us up could be
green beans, tuna and ginseng tea
I’ll add some chocolate and liquorice for me

Don’t forget the brazil nuts and walnuts,
They’re sure to help
Just like hummus, squash and kelp

How about some cottage cheese
Or goats milk or wheat,
oranges, parsley or sesame seed

So come on let’s eat
whether it be vegetables, fruit
or meat

For food is medicine and will keep us healthy
And ensure we stay the right side of happy!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


When Andy and I were first married we had a plan drawn up of the house of our dreams. The architecht was perceptive and understood exactly what we had in mind. We were living in Gauteng at the time and would never have dreamt that Andy would have a job opportunity in the beautiful Cape! Our dream home was built in the pretty town called Somerset West. Not only did we wake up to the sound of birds singing but also to the most magnificent mountain views. We were in a quiet spot surrounded by great neighbours and breathtaking surroundings and used to take fun walks with our toddlers and made some special memories. After a couple of years my Andy took a job opportunity in Port Elizabeth where we lived for seven years. After that we ended up in Cape Town for sixteen years where we still pined for our house in Somerset West.

What a surprise when we recently got an e-mail to say that this house is on the market! We took a drive to Somerset West and I could not help but wipe a tear as I walked down the passage and in my minds-eye saw my children playing and giggling in their rooms and splashing water all over the bathroom floor. The old Almond tree in the garden where my son tried to swing from a branch like Tarzan and nearly injuring himself, brought back a flood of memories.

The new owners, however, have made some good changes and renovations but the house is unaffordable for us now! Also they have put their stamp on it.

We took a ride around the suburb afterwards trying to get an idea of the house prices in this area. One house in a quiet cul-de-sac drew our attention. We could not believe was spacy and well kept, has a pool and the most wonderful view over the Strand and Gordon's Bay beaches. The kitchen is a dream and takes us out to a patio with built-in braai area that overlooks the pool. From the bedrooms we can see the Hottentots Holland mountains. It offers large office space while Andy still works from home. Surprise Surprise! - it costs less than the old house. Suddenly all sentiment went out the window. I realise that even if we bought our old house that it will never be the same. Our children are older and leaving the nest but I have those memories to carry in my heart forever. We have other needs now and maybe one of them is a fresh start. A place where we can entertain friends (especially ones that come from afar) - a place to have fun with our older children when they visit and hopefully one day grandchildren too.

I realise that nothing stays the same forever but God. And He brings new blessing and opportunities every morning - I have to look at Him and see what plans He has in store for us. If it is for us to stay here in the leafy suburb of Rondebosch a while longer, that's fine too.
I shall be patient but watch this space...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

No news is good news

Who doesn't love exciting news? While I was very busy and home with young children I could hardly wait for my husband to come home from work to hear all the juicy news from the office, who was dating who and what was going on in the world out there. It just lifted my spirit and did not make me feel quite so boxed in. Those days passed in a flash and now that I am older I have found that actually, no news is good news! I have made my peace with the fact that my days can sometimes be a little boring or dreary and have realised that being part of the humdrum of everyday life can be a real blessing! So many things could go wrong in one's daily existence - a family member might become ill, there could be a car accident or maybe even a burglary. These things can really turn one's life upside down. During monotonous days I look for the simple things in life to spruce up my existence. I don't look at a day as uneventful anymore. What, with blogging, a good 'whodunnit' novel, a quick chat with a neighbour, noticing some beauty in an unusual spot and painting a picture, I have no excuse! In fact these things now put a smile on my face.
I think I should thank the Lord every time a friend asks: 'What's new?' and I reply: 'No news is good news'.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

'Let us read, think and write' - James Adams

What makes books so charming? Even if I just stroke my hand over the cover, wonder about the author's unusual names or admire the picture of the author inside, they always leave me with food for thought. When I visit a new friend, I often have a peep at her bookshelf and the books she chooses. Why? Well, that could give away a whole lot about her!

I always tend to be busy with books. I help out at the school library, the church library and sometimes other charity bookshops. I find comfort in these spaces where I am surrounded by books. Even when they smell musty or the dust make me sneeze, they leave me soothed and inspired.

Some people see books as trusted friends. They are able to speak to you in different ways. They can take you to travel destinations that you might never reach, they can teach you much about life, the past and others. Yes, books make me feel rich - I agree with Thomas Babington Macauly who said, 'I would rather be poor in a cottage full of books than be a king without the desire to read'. I have to admit that I have, at times, skipped a meal or not bought a new lipstick so that I could afford that new book.

I always imagine that readers are good, kind and giving people. I am involved with a group of avid readers who read a book and then leave it for someone to find, whether it be in a coffee shop or on a park bench. We are called 'bookcrossers'.

When I'm on road trips and do a quick stop in a new town, I always wonder where their library could be and what it's like. I thank my parents for reading to me from an early age as I have done the same with my own children. I am sure the talented authors out there are appreciative of us, their audience too - what would their thoughts mean if we did not read them! That brings me to the most wonderful author of all - the One who wrote the Bible which has been proved to be the first printed book ever!

PS I asked my husband to edit this piece for me which he did and then he showed me a poem he wrote while passing time at a coffee shop at Exclusive books. Mmmm, great minds think alike! I added it with his permission.


Surrounded by shelves, more than four hundred
Surrounded by books, more than ten thousand
Surrounded by words, More than ten million
Surrounded by stories, facts, figures and pictures

Each cover carefully designed luring like a moth to a light
Each story carefully constructed to thrill and delight
Each author satisfied by the fruits of their labour
Each reader gifted with a story to savour

How many books have ever been written?
How many words committed to paper?
How many stories have ever been told?
How many books have ever been sold?

The spoken word, spoken and lost
The spoken word, never to be unsaid
The spoken word, with beginning and end
The spoken word, for no one to lend

The written word, captured forever
The written word, edited to perfection
The written word, having life without end
The written word, to possess and to lend

Books, as living as they are, will never know
their worth like the authors who penned them

© Andrew J Smith 23 June 2009 All rights reserved

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Not so long ago I did a post on trees. I spoke about their importance and how we should look after nature and the environment. I mentioned the fun memories that I have of the trees in my gardens over the years. I also mentioned how trees should not just be chopped down for no real reason. Then a friend reminded me of a time that a certain tree needed to be chopped down for the most significant reason of all!

The wood of that tree would be carried a long way by the most important person to ever walk the earth. Jesus was fixed to a wooden cross and He was tortured and crucified there. What kind of tree it was made from, does not matter. We all know about His extreme suffering and His pain and heartache. What matters is that you and I were set free by His blood shed on that cross. We can be forgiven because our God’s will has been done! He gave up His only son for us and this is the greatest love we will ever know.

I decided to leave all my burdens at the foot of that cross once again and live in the precious knowledge that He will be shaping, moulding and guiding me until He returns. I will try my best to walk in His footsteps daily…a hard act to follow!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Friends are friends forever if...

So much has been written about friendships and I wonder if I could possibly think of something that has not been said already! But because my friendships are so important to me, I have to do at least one post about them. This thought was inspired by another wonderful blogger and child of the King who recently wrote a short post on how she appreciated her friends. She added the signature song from the TV series, The Golden Girls, called, Thank you for being a friend. How many other lyrics have been composed about friendships through the years, I wonder? My favourite ones are, Friends by Michael W Smith and the ever popular, You've got a friend, by Carol King.

My childhood friend, (from Grade 2) came for supper last night. We enjoyed a hearty meal, looked at photographs and spoke a bit about the good old days, shared new ideas and had a fun time as always. She lives many miles away and so every visit is cherished and new memories are made. When she left I wondered to myself what has made this bond between us survive 47 years! It could be that through these decades there has been genuine concern for one another - my heart will not forget those things that made it feel so light - the cheery voice on the phone, words of encouragement when I needed them or even a shoulder to cry on at times. I have several wonderful friends, so many to mention. Erma and I were introduced to each other by our sons in the eighties. Our boys were only in Grade 4 then. She lives far away now too. There are regular letters in my postbox from her. They bring sunshine on the gloomiest days. This friend seems to know the art of thoughtfulness and understanding and I miss her smile so much when we have not seen each other in a while.

I have to mention Caroline. I was her teenage babysitter when she was just a little girl. They lived in South Africa for a few years and then returned to Holland. We kept in contact, first with letter writing and later over the Internet. We even compared notes when our baby girls were born a few weeks apart. I was wonderfully surprised when this special lady booked a flight all the way from the Netherlands to be with me after my traumatic diagnosis and operation in 2005. My heart was filled with gratitude when she attended my 50th birthday tea to celebrate the new life that awaited me after the trial and tribulation of my crisis!

Then there is Inki whose wisdom brings me strength. I love Fiona and Adele's love and care. By the way, it's thanks to Fiona's technical skills that she is so willing to share that I'm now blogging! There are so many special people whose hearts are in tune with mine. I wish I could mention all of you, but this post will become too long!

How I look forward to meeting many new friends on this journey called life, but never forgetting the old friendships! Why don't not make contact with that long forgotten friend soon?
Remember, a friend's a friend forever if the Lord is the Lord of them.

My prayer today: Thank you so much for my friends, Lord. Please bless them today and always!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Why blog?

We had a problem with our ADSL line and I could not get onto the Internet for a while! I felt very sorry for myself and wondered whether anyone had missed me but to my surprise I utilised the time wisely...some shelves were tidied, I answered two letters in long hand, sewed a pretty scatter cushion and added a few recipes to a recipe book. Then a dreadful thought crossed my mind and I started panicking...what if I could never get onto the Net again...what about my online friends and the worst, what if I could never add to my blog again! Why has this adventurous thing, called blogging, become so important to me was the next question. Mmmm.... some material for a new blog, so I started jotting down some ideas.

Blogging for me has become a fun-filled space where I am able to communicate with other like-minded people - find out how they think and their views of the world we live in. Here I feel free to also voice my own thoughts and opinions. It's a place where I can think things through and become creative. Blogging is exciting and often surprising as it brings something new to one's life every day. It's definitely always educational - I am learning more while messing around with the technology that I once was so afraid of and also am more aware of my environment. It forces me to read more and find out about life to be able to share more on my blog. I enjoy giving of myself and like everyone, so love receiving - blogging is the ideal place to do just that.

The only negatives that I can think of is that one could easily become addicted - I often need to keep my eye on the clock while busy, else nothing in my household will get done. So you see, blogging could possibly get one into trouble too. Right now however, there is no doubt that I am enjoying every moment sharing my little corner of the world with anyone that seems even vaguely interested.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Trix's Trees

I have mentioned before how sad I become when winter arrives, stripping our beloved Pin-oak's branches bare. I know it's just a tree, but it's the sight that greets me as I open my curtains each morning and it can uplift or dampen my spirits somewhat. As a child I loved daydreaming - nestled high in my leafy hide-away I would observe the world down below. Did I maybe learn something from that tree? Perhaps from my hidden spot in the sky I was taught a little about the weather, living creatures and the mystery of God and His creation?

A few years ago a neighbour cut down a beautiful, healthy Oak tree! Why? To have a better view of Table Mountain from their second floor. I felt upset by this. I'm sure nature has value in itself just because God created it. I suppose there are reasons to cut down a tree - to build a house or to make a fire - but to just cut it down? Surely a tree is worth more than bark and sap.

At a local school the teachers and children had a special remembrance service when an age old Ilex tree on the premises became sick and died. This is going a bit far and it seems like even us Christians are sometimes getting confused. Like the environmental movements, who, have been joined by the New Age followers getting involved with saving the planet for their own reasons only. Because we love the Lord and that which comes from His hands we should be even more motivated to love and nurture what He has entrusted to us - that was what Adam was instructed to do. We know that the earth won't be our home forever, but God has stamped his identity on everything we see and it's our responsibility and our joy to use it wisely.

Maybe we should be hugging a tree from time to time...I smile to myself.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Winter in Cape Town - 2010

On the whole this was a better one for me...perhaps because I feel quite content in myself this year or maybe it was the happy vibe (noisy vuvuzellas and all) that the World Cup soccer brought to our city that did it

Cape Town winters are normally cold and wet. I don't like the dark feelings that come over me at the end of autumn when I see all the signs of winter appearing. I'm sad to see my favourite tree bare it's branches around the end of May.

I don't like freezing feet and I dread the cold mornings. Luckily my husband takes my daughter to school in the mornings and I don't have to leave the comfort of my home or especially my warm bed too early. Layering my clothes is no fun either. The scarfs and jackets that have been waiting patiently in the cuboard during the summer months smell funny and the unpleasant whiff of the first fire of winter takes a day or two to disappear. Walking through puddles and seeing muddy prints on the carpets adds to it all. Winter makes me lose motivation and I struggle to find inspiration because it is unfriendly, grey and at times just plain nasty.

Feeling half-alive is not how I want to spend my days, so I just have to find reasons to enjoy winter and make the most of it. This is how I'm getting through this one:

Wearing my warm flannel pajamas (sometimes even all day long)
Drinking steaming hot chocolate and toasting marshmallows over a flame
Cooking yummy thick soups and stews and enjoying it with the family or friends (no reason to be lonely)
A cosy fire, good book, blanket and stretching out on the old couch (if I get there first)
Being forced to be indoors allows more time for my arts and crafts and of course the well-loved boardgames

Apparently some flowers flourish only in shady spots and some need no sun at all to encourage them to bloom. Would I really appreciate summer so much if there wasn't a cold or wet winter or maybe even no winter? I think winter might teach me patience, tolerance and perseverance. I look forward to the optimism in the air and that fresh feeling and look that one can't pinpoint exactly, that comes with the start of September.
But for now I will make the most of winter - easy to say when spring is around the corner!

Friday, August 6, 2010

On being creative

A pen, a needle, brush or some kind of tool - I will always have one or more of these things in my storage boxes. I also pick up every little lost feather, button, pretty leaf or anything that catches my eye - probably with some arts and crafts in mind. I don't just want to, but I need to create something beautiful every now and then. It's a good way to express myself and I normally learn a lot when I paint, sew or write. Some people might wonder whether there is any useful purpose to this. Well for me, it's a way to take everyday items and shape them into something special so that they will remain in my life and in my heart. Maybe in a way, I am bringing a little bit of God into the world too. I read somewhere that our wonderful God of everything dwells in all loveliness in form, colour and texture. God made some things just for His pleasure, and our pleasure too - did flowers have to be so delightful and magnificent mountains so breathtaking? God went through so much trouble to make our earth a beautiful place. So, I almost see it as my duty to beautify my own little corner of the world in some small way. Beauty nourishes the soul and makes a still place for itself in our over stimulated minds. Creativity refreshes us and make us fall in love with the universe all over again.

Today I will once again pull out that waterpainting kit. Who knows who I'm about to bless with a kind gift!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Letters to prisoners

For the last couple of years I have been corresponding with inmates in a local prison. At first I found this task difficult - what does one say to people living behind bars? I feel such pity for them and often shed a tear or two when I read about their concern for their families - not bringing in finances to put food on the table, not being able to see to their children's well-being and not being in control under the circumstances. Their letters touch my heart as I read about how these prisoners miss sunshine and just the normal things that you and I are fortunate to enjoy on a daily basis. Mostly they regret the crime they committed which landed them in this situation in the first place. They seem to be thankful however, for even the tiniest thing - a facecloth, a tube of toothpaste or some reading matter. Not that it is always easy to get these items to them.

To my surprise I was invited to a special dinner - a thank you from the prison ministry for the work I have done. Do I deserve this? I thought to myself. These prisoners have actually been doing me a favour by sharing their feelings and thoughts on paper...I am far more appreciative of the many blessings in my life and am taking nothing for granted these days. It's a privilege to breath in fresh air or feeling the wind in my hair while taking a walk in the Newlands forest or the promenade. I realise how great it is to have the freedom to be able to go shopping, stroke a kitten, write out a postcard or play a boardgame with my family. A grateful heart is a happy heart and so the thank you should go to the inmates!

Please pray for me as I continue to try to encourage and bring hope to these folk while finding joy in my own journey!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A special space to write

Our house had and entrance on the side which was seldom used, so my husband enclosed it to form a small study a few years ago. The two large windows make it an airy and light-filled space. At first I had lots of dreams for this new room, I would make it a sewing room or a place to do my arts and crafts. Sadly, before I knew it, it ended up being the dumping place for the family’s unwanted bits & bobs that they weren’t prepared to part with. It has also become the depository for glass and paper waiting to be carted off to another favourite hangout, the Oasis recycling depot. But that is a subject of a future blog.

So, today I decided it was time to throw out and clean up. I need a spot that will help to train my mind to get going. Sitting down in that small room surrounded by things I cherish: a notice board filled with the many postcards from all over the world, books which stimulate my thoughts and pretty flowers to add personality to my desk - these should surely give me the cue to write. I might even decide to keep the walls empty sometimes to explore the world of my own imagination. It doesn’t matter... what's important is that I decided that I should make do with what is available to me. It doesn’t have to be large or fancy - it just has to be a space where I can get comfortable and write.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Blogging verses good old fashioned long-hand journaling

As you know I have recently started blogging! It brings me so much pleasure and I have to be careful not to become addicted!
Somehow though, whenever I visit a book shop, I just can't resist looking through the variety of striped or dotted, card-backed or fabric-covered and even glove-soft leather notebooks. The colourful jackets of these books are so lovely and you just know that they could add cheer to any desk or table with all those sunny hues and patterns. The question though is, if I buy one, will it just be for decoration? Would I rather take a seat behing my PC and blog or will I really put such an expensive journal to good use? These books are just too special and not really suitable to use for scribbling my Morning Pages. I think mine might just sadly end up being a white elephant on my bedside table!
It might make a useful gift for a special friend or one of my daughters though!

Friday, July 23, 2010


I am realising more and more every day that writing is good for the soul! It helps us to map out our paths and of course as a Christian, God is always in every small detail!

I have just started blogging. It is quite different to keeping journals, then hiding them in the cupboard, (which I have done for years). Apparently once you put pen to paper, whether it be writing a letter to a good friend, a short story, a poem or keeping a diary, you are allowed to call yourself a writer. I can see that with each blog, where I share my thoughts by adding prose or a poem with my friends and the world, that I am becoming more enthusiastic and confident.

To some extent a writer is always working - you tend to be alert to all of your surroundings - people and places. You notice every tiny little thing, so that much of what you hear or see will come back at some time to capture on paper or your PC. The subconscious mind does more writing than we think.

You learn to write by writing and I would like writing to fill my life. I want to follow famous author, Julia Cameron's advice...write at least three pages of anything every day. The earlier I write these pages, which she calls Morning pages, the better - while the mind is fresh and preferably in long hand. You can decide what you would like to do with those notes later on.

Once a week I need to have an 'Artist's date' for an hour or so - visiting a place that might inspire me, whether it be an antique shop or art gallery - museum or craft shop.

She also suggests regular solitary walks to gather your thoughts and collect new ideas. Or maybe going to a coffee shop and sit jotting down what you observe in the waitress, the cake stand or what's on the table.

I want writing to be like breathing.

The best advice Julia gave to go back to my my minds-eye stand back and look into my room. The patterns on the curtains and my treasured toys. I scratched in my current cupboard and found my favourite tattered teddy bear which now has a place of honour on my dressing table. I went to the shop and bought a packet of sherbet, a sweet, which I loved as a child - I imagined sitting in the large oak tree looking down at the world and savouring every spoonful on my tongue. Finding the little Theresa in me again has brought a new outlook and fascination with all my surroundings.

But for now I have to return to real life, washing and ironing to be done, grocery shopping etc. But, who knows what might come from all of this space!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Enjoying the simple things in life

They say that true gratitude is being thankful that someone else has done for you what you couldn't do for yourself.

As I am getting a little older I seem to be far more appreciative of the simple every day things that life brings. Those regular long walks with my husband in the park - the wonderful mountains that surrounds us being the cherry on the cake.
A weekly visit from a friend over a cup of tea after her scrapbooking class - catching up, sometimes with tears, but mostly with laughter.
Admiring those beautiful shiny red, green and yellow peppers and other bright coloured vegetables on my table for a while, before chopping and cooking them - grateful for the meal that will be provided for my family.
A handwritten envelope in my post-box with my name on it brings me much joy and so does a new note from my youngest daughter in our combined journal.

In 1 Thessalonains 5:18 the apostle Paul tells us 'in every thing give thanks' and I never want to forget that.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


For those of you who have wondered who I really am, what I truly believe in and my thoughts on God. Well, I could give a long testimony but I thought my poem sums it all up pretty well. Here goes...


Jesus stopped my heart from breaking
He eased all the pain
He made me whole again

Jesus stopped my heart from breaking
No more sighing, whining
No more crying

Jesus stopped my heart from breaking
He took me into His safe nest
Where everything is of the best

Jesus stopped my heart from breaking
Knowing Him brought me peace and hope
He taught me how to cope

Jesus stopped my heart from breaking
He showed me how to really forgive
Now I can truly live

Jesus stopped my heart from breaking
I finally feel free...
To be me

Jesus stopped my heart from breaking

Theresa Smith
July, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Taste of Our Lives - inspired by A Taste of My Life

I love having DSTV!
I enjoy the really old movies, even the black and white ones. I also watch some of the programs on Kyk-Net as I sometimes long so for my Afrikaans heritage in this English environment that I live in. Most of all I love the inspiration that the cooking programs bring.

I recently discovered a delightful program called, A Taste of My Life.
A well known British chef, Nigel, visits with celebrities - actually he spends a whole day with each of them. They talk about careers, childhood memories and the role that food played in their lives. Nigel then gets a friend or family member to cook a particular dish which the celebrity remembers fondly and it is often received with great sentimentality.

This program inspired me to create a cookbook for my eldest daughter as she is getting married at the end of the year. I am using only recipes that will be of some significance to her. Hopefully it will bring back a flood of good culinary memories! There are so many - rusks and cookies made for long caravan holidays in George, her first attempts at cooking as little girl (simple trifle, custard cookies, crunchies etc), the chocolate brownies recipe that her little sister baked over and over and fattened us up on and of course the quick and easy milk food she made during winter while procrastinating over studying. How can I forget the nutritious cauliflower soup which I decided not to liquidise before serving. I somehow missed a tiny green worm hiding between the florets - it ended up in my daughter's bowl! Probably just a little protein, I said, but I don't think she has ever forgiven me!

Here are two of the recipes:


5OO gram cauliflower (pieces)
2 Tablespoons flour
Black pepper and salt
1 Litre of water
1 Litre of milk
3 cubes of chicken/vegetable stock
1 Large onion, chopped

Brown the onon in some marge/butter and add the cauliflower
Add the flour, milk and water.
Boil until soft.


25ml Flour
25ml Cornflour (Maizena)
25ml Milk
25ml Real butter
25ml Cinnamon sugar

Mix flour, cornflour and a small quantity of the milk to a smooth paste.
Stir the flour mixture into the remaining milk and stir over slow heat until boiling. Cook for 3 minutes.
Remove from the heat and add the butter to the milk mixture.
Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
(2 Servings)

I'm sure you have some fond memories of the role that food played during your growing-up years - please share them!

Friday, July 16, 2010


A talented young girl who took part in a poetry competition mentioned that poetry came very easily to her. She confessed that if somebody upset her or she felt annoyed, she would straight away write her feelings in verse. Reading about this girl inspired my own poem.


Write if you must...
Do your best
Get it off your chest

Write if you must...
Don't hesitate
Talk about your hate

Write if you must...
Don't get rushed
Or flushed
Share your pain
And about all that was in vain

Write if you must...
Tell about your dissapoinment
bereavement and resentment

before you become bitter
Tear it all up
And turn it into litter

Write if you must...

Monday, July 12, 2010


What is it with me feeling so nostalgic and longing for 'the good old days' lately?
It often seems the past is filled with ideal pleasures. A flashback from my childhood triggers all kinds of emotions in me. Sometimes I really long to go back to a particular period of time whether it be my own childhood or when my own children were babies or toddlers. I know we can't have these times over but it is so wonderful to be able to remember the thoughts and feelings we gathered in times gone by.

Here are some moments I am nostalgic about:

Walking in after school to find a plate of warm syrupy flapjacks.

A gingham traycloth, cross-stitched by my little girl, used at an adult tea party.

Tears when my signet ring was cut through because of my ever-growing little fingers.

Five well-worn teddies in a row on the shelf: Mine, my husband's and our three children's.

I remember in the sixties, my Mom packing a basket full of home made pies for an outing to the drive-in to see an Elvis movie!

I just love sifting through the old button tin and finding, amongst other treasures, a memory of my five-year-old self. I remember my first outing to the zoo in my well-loved, green coat and a shiny silver button popping off.

My son's name in neatly written calligraphy on the inside of a children's book awarded to him for his interest in languages at playschool. Today he teaches students the same passion in English class!

As I look back and smile about these treasured moments, I remind myself that each new day brings with it a new memory to be made. Talking, laughing and connecting with my beautiful family and friends will be the source of many future, colourful memoirs to cherish.

Friday, July 9, 2010


Our lives consist of moments, hours, months and days. Every day we experience something new and unfortunately we have to say goodbye to some things. Change is what life is all about. How does one cope with change in a positive way I asked myself, especially if you are the kind of person who finds security in things remaining familiar and the same all the time. Well, gratitude and sharing your thankfulness on a daily basis could be one way. I have heard that being grateful and appreciative for five or more blessings on a daily basis will begin a journey of awareness and wonder on our paths. No matter how tough our lives are at that moment this will help us to find the sunshine and bring new enthusiasm.

My five for the day:

I have a wonderful family who loves me...they are all healthy and happy and live meaningful lives.

What a priviledge to live in the beautiful, Cape Town and to be able to use all my senses to appreciate the magestic Table Mountain and the beauty of my surroundings to the full.

My friends are hugely supportive in all I endeavour and are there for me during the ups and downs of life. Some have been part of my life almost forever! However, there's always a place in my heart for new ones.

I have a home with a sweet garden and a bookshelf full of books.

I am thankful for my little silver car that never lets me down and takes me where ever I want to go.

Count your blessings today!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Starting my blog...

Finally...I've got a blog! Thanks so much to my dear friend Fiona for helping me with this - I am going to have great fun and learn much in the process!

First I am going to put up some pics taken around my house so you can see where I am writing from.
Cozy fires during the winter months in my lounge, together with nutritious stews or soups help me through the rainy seasons in Cape Town.
Here is one of the two beds always available for friends who might want to pop in for a few days.
I have a fascination with 'hearts' and you will find them on door handles etc. in almost every room in our house. These two hanging on a kitchen cupboard were gifts from friends - one made from felt the other is a small black board.
The small scatter cushion was also a gift from a friend that inspired some colour changes in my home.
I love this little inherited silver butter dish and I enjoy using it for serving guests.
The white cupboard now in the kitchen came with the house which we bought sixteen years ago and has since served as a clothing cupboard, used for ornaments and now has my groceries in it.
My good friend, Inki, from Port Elizabeth gave me a lesson in mosaic work and I am most proud of this cross hanging in my lounge. I would love to attempt a larger one sometime!
We will soon have a son-in-law and I might have to have a group of six figures made -for now this one (all the way from Holland) of the five of us will have to do.
The two colourful cushions on the couch I found while bargain hunting at a second hand store where I hang out regularly...not just to buy but for the nostalgia that it brings. I see many items that come from my era or childhood there.
This old couch given to us by Andy's parents often gets fought over for an afternoon nap and has much sentimental value - I rested on it during pregnancy, breastfed my babies on it and this was also where my husband first told me he loved me when we were still going out. It has been revamped once though.
The cute vintage type clock was a gift from my Dutch neighbour and the art was one of my older daughter's first attempts at oil painting.