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.