The Day I Conquered The WORLD!!


I am a SPORCLE fan. Sporcle is a website – and it’s the home of general knowledge quizzes.  One of the main parts of Sporcle that really scratches my itch for learning are the maps of the world. They give you a map and you have to fill in all the countries. So I’ve learned all 197 countries of the world. Given individual maps, you eventually learn all the countries, from massive Russia to tiny Kiribati. You find out where Mongolia is and how to spell Kyrgyzstan. You realise there’s a place called Tuvalu and acquaint yourself with Andorra, Bhutan and Cambodia. From far north to far south, from east to west, you learn the countries of the world. It’s such fun and so empowering! When a country comes up in conversation, you at least have heard of it.

The real challenge comes when you click “Countries of the World” & Sporcle spews up the map with all 197 countries listed. The map is squished and  all the names of the countries you put down end up very close to one another, until you can’t see the countries themselves. As a result, you don’t know what you’ve missed and you just can’t finish in the allotted 15 measly minutes. I have tried and tried and tried. TODAY WAS THE DAY I FINALLY SUCCEEDED….and with 3 minutes to spare!

The Day I Conquered the WorldI realised the trick is to start with the larger continents and end with South America, which only has 12 countries. Sporcle fans, you have been challenged!

So off you go!

Have a fabulous weekend, sporcling it out!

On Top of the World!

John 3:16

For God so loved THE WORLD that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him, will not perish but have everlasting life!

The World! Every country of the 197.

Keep the smile going

God Bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

Gratitude Pic – Ladies Bible study this morning – we are on track to Breaking Free!

Fridays Breaking Free group

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Never again! Yesterday I claimed a “Never Again.”  There is a place in the Bible where this is said quite emphatically. It is Genesis 9 verse 14-15,

“Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between Me and you and all living creatures of every kind. NEVER AGAIN will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.”

It came to mind yesterday while I was driving home with Riana after her LAST radiation treatment. There was one rainbow after another, spread joyously across the sky, bringing colour and brilliance amidst the grey clouds.

Rainbow 2 Rainbow 3 Rainbow 1

NEVER AGAIN. Riana and I had planned to go together for her last radiation treatment. We had our mammograms together on 1st April. I was there when she walked into the waiting room after her ultrasound – pale and in a little shock, explaining she had a lump and should we wait for it to be biopsied under ultrasound. I sat in the ultrasound room watching while the specialist did the biopsy. When she got the results, she was on her way to pick me up for gym. I went back 141 days on my cell phone to a Whatsapp on 2nd April….

MessageIt was bone-chilling. Even now, when I relive those moments, my heart pounds and my adrenaline levels rise. We were both shocked. We went to gym, internally reeling from this life-changing news. Externally trying to just be normal.  She had not been able to get hold of her husband. We could say nothing to anyone….except God. Arrow, silent prayers shooting heavenward, trying to make sense of this bizarre, unexpected result.

The days ahead blurred as appointments were made, doctors visited, scans, surgeons, conversations, endless questions and much prayer. The news at every turn was unexpectedly good, under the circumstances. The oncology team said it was the smallest lump they had ever had to deal with. After surgery, the rim was clear, the glands were clear. No mastectomy necessary. No chemo required. The doctors were all in agreement that it was remarkable that it was found so early. 6 weeks of radiation (5 days a week) was the prescribed treatment. And so Riana, with very little fuss or bother, got it done. And it came as no surprise yesterday that the radiation staff commented that she was one of the best, pleasant patients they had ever had! :-D

We went as a group…4 of us….Riana, me, as well as  two other precious friends who have advised, explained, sympathised, supported and done something I could not do…they have fully understood. They have been through their own breast cancer journey – both have had to have chemo and radiation. Both have been amazing examples to all of us – role models – strong women, who have shown vulnerability, yet extraordinary strength and tenacity. They have learned to”die to their afflictions and to live out on God’s altar”*, knowing that He is sovereign and He will NEVER let them down. He is faithful. They have scars to tell - living proof that they can be “afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;” (2 Corinthians 4)

These are 3 amazing women who I am privileged to call my friends! My prayer for them yesterday and today and always,  is that NEVER AGAIN will they have to walk that road….that those three “NEVER AGAIN”  rainbows that beautifully spread across the sky on our way home will be a promise to them of a NEVER AGAIN to cancer.

So we marked the moment with photos aplenty…this is in front of the humongous radiation machine at Vincent Palotti…

In radiation room

And afterwards, we went out for SUSHI! On Riana’s first day of radiation, we had arranged a sushi outing and unexpectedly, the day before, she got a call to say radiation starts tomorrow & the time conflicted with sushi. Yesterday we made up for it…


It was mouth-watering!

Life is fragile. Surround yourself with people who support you. Love each other unconditionally. Life’s too short to be at odds with one another. If you have wronged, make right; seek forgiveness, make amends. Forgive others. Forgive yourself. None of us are perfect. It’s time for freedom!

Keep the smile going!

God bless you!

In His Grip

Helga xx :-)

*Lyrics by Bill Drake

Gratitude Pic….My victorious cancer-free friends…

Three brave women

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The Ebola Virus- How It Impacts Cape Town


The Ebola virus is in Africa, but it is NOT in South Africa and certainly not in Cape Town. Yet, due to the fact that it is a growing West African problem, it affects us here. How? To start, there are ongoing flights coming into South Africa from West Africa, the home of Ebola. There are also ships coming into port from West Africa, so immediately, the possibility of bringing the virus in, while very small, is still there. BUT, this is no different from flights going to other parts of the world. Travel is so global these days. Planes and ships are moving from West Africa to all over the world, so South Africa is not the only country that has to take care. Every airport that receives flights from any foreign continent and every port that docks ships has to be aware that they are the potential carriers of disease, not only Ebola, but thousands of other viruses and bacteria.

There is also a great deal of ignorance in some parts of the world, as to where South Africa is. Africa is Africa and if Ebola is in Africa, it could mean that Ebola is in South Africa. This is the reason why a Thai insurance company cancelled a trip for 1500 people to Cape Town. Even when it was explained that Cape Town is far South and no where near West Africa, the Asian insurance company didn’t want to run the risk. Read that story here. While South Africa and Cape Town are in Africa, they are just under 5000km from the epicentre of the Ebola crisis….Map of Africa

It is ludicrous to cancel tours to Cape Town. London is only a couple of hundred kilometres further from Liberia…

Monrovia to London

And you don’t see those tours being cancelled! Barcelona in Spain is almost 1000km closer to Liberia than Cape Town and you don’t see those tours being cancelled! Tour operators: Do some proper research and don’t put unreasonable fear into the hearts of tourists.

Meanwhile, there is good news regarding the recovery of the two missionaries who contracted Ebola while in Liberia….

Here’s the story from Assist News (thanks to Nico for sending it my way)…

American Ebola Patient Dr. Kent Brantly, says: ‘I Am Recovering in Every Way’

He hopes to be released ‘in the near future’

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

ATLANTA, GA (ANS) – Dr. Kent Brantly, the American Christian doctor who contracted Ebola while working in Liberia, released a statement on Friday in which he said he was “recovering in every way,” and stated that he was looking forward to being reunited with his family.

Dr. Kent Brantly pictured with his wife and children before contracting
the Ebola virus

He said, “There are still a few hurdles to clear before I can be discharged, but I hold on to the hope of a sweet reunion with my wife, children and family in the near future.”

“Thank you for your prayers for Nancy and me,” Brantly said in the statement. “Please continue to pray for and bring attention to those suffering in the ongoing Ebola crisis in West Africa.”

According to a story carried on, Brantly, who was volunteering with the charity Samaritan’s Purse in Liberia amid the worst-ever outbreak of the deadly virus, has been improving steadily after being treated with an experimental drug earlier this month.

Brantly remained hospitalized Friday at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. His comments came in a statement issued through Samaritan’s Purse, which is headed up by Franklin Graham, the son of evangelist, Billy Graham.

Brantly and a second American, Nancy Writebol who works with Serving in Mission (SIM), were flown out of Liberia earlier this month and are being treated in an isolation unit at the Atlanta hospital. The two were infected while working at a missionary clinic outside Liberia’s capital, Monrovia.

Nancy Writebol with some of her Liberian
friends before she contracted Ebola

Brantly added in his statement, “Thank you for your prayers for Nancy and me. Please continue to pray for and bring attention to those suffering in the ongoing Ebola crisis in West Africa. Their fight is far from over.” 

Fund Established to Help Brantly Family

The website stated that The JPS Foundation is now accepting donations for Brantly and his family, who lost all of their earthly possessions when he contracted the Ebola virus and was returned to the United States for treatment. After his symptoms appeared, Brantly was isolated and was never able to return to their home. According to JPS, everything is considered contaminated by Ebola and will be destroyed.

“No date has been announced for his release from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, but when he is well enough to join his family, they will face the challenge of replacing everything from household items and clothing to computers and children’s toys,” said JPS in a statement Friday. “All funds will be held in a separate account within the JPS Foundation for the financial support of Dr. Brantly and his family during his recovery.

Anyone who would like to contribute can do so at A drop-down menu allows donations to be earmarked for Dr. Brantly.

Contributions, which are tax-deductible, also can be mailed to:
JPS Foundation
Kent Brantly Fund
1223 S. Main St.
Fort Worth, TX 76104


So there you have it – It’s been a long recovery.

My advice if you are travelling to West Africa, is to avoid human contact.

Regardless of where we are in life, there’s always a reason for it. Dr. Brantly certainly has a story to tell. He is one of few survivors. He would never have been thrown into the limelight in such dramatic fashion, had it not been for the Ebola virus – ‘for such a time as this.’

In fact, right now, I’m reading the book of Esther in the Old Testament, which is from where that phrase originates.  It always strikes me when I read the book of Esther that each of us are living for such a time as this. Esther was a Jewess. Married to King Xerxes, she had purposefully concealed her heritage from him. Mordecai was Esther’s cousin. Because he refused to bow down before anyone except God Haman, a top official of the king, was angered and got the king to issue an edict to annihilate all the Jews. Mordecai was devastated and sent a message to Esther. This is what he wrote this sobering message:

“Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape.14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” 

(Esther 4:12-14)

As a child of God, you too are in a royal position. Today, be determined to be part of what God is doing in your family, your church, your community, your city, your country, your world. He has put you there for such a time as this.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

Gratitude Pic….my mouth is already watering for sushi with friends today…


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Stories from Rhodesia – Part 2 – Lest We Forget – The Elim Massacre


This is sobering. 36 years have passed. I was 13 years old when this happened. I heard about it, but certainly never really knew how many people died – who they were or how old they were. It’s a painful look at one of the worst atrocities that occurred during those dark years.

Download (PDF, 893KB)


For me it hurt to read this. The cruelty. The devastating violence. I lifted my hands and covered my face as I imagined the brutality of it all. And I cried out, “Father forgive us.” We all contributed to that war. We all need forgiveness.

Psalm 79 vss 8-10

Do not hold against us the sins of past generations;   may your mercy come quickly to meet us,  for we are in desperate need. Help us, God our Saviour,  for the glory of your Name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your Name’s sake. Why should the nations say,
    “Where is their God?” Before our eyes, make known among the nations that you avenge the outpoured blood of your servants. 

Let us never forget.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Helga xx

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Sweet Potato Waffle/Pancake with Berries & Cream


Those of you following my life and not my recipes get the day off from reading today’s post! The other day Caroline Leaf posted a Facebook status that her daughter Dominique had made a sweet potato waffle.

Dominiques Sweet potato waffleIt looks yummy and so simple, but I don’t have a waffle pan, so I decided to try it as a pancake. Step by step…here we go…I only had orange sweet potato, so when grated it looks like grated carrots. It wasn’t. Grate the sweet potato raw…

Grated orange sweet potatoThen add a free range egg…

Free range eggsI just broke the egg directly onto the top of the sweet potato and mixed it well. As I don’t have a waffle pan, I decided maybe it should be a bit better blended so I used my stick blender on it…

Stick blender eggs and coconut oil…and it came out looking like this….

Sweet potato pancake mixture blendedI heated a blob of coconut oil in my small pan…

Small frying pan and coconut oil…and once the coconut oil melted, I poured in the batter and spread it to fill the pan…

Poured sweet potato batter in and spread it outIt started to cook. While that was happening, I defrosted some frozen berries…

Frozen berriesWithin a few minutes, the pancake was beginning to fluff up and pull a little away from the side of the pan….this is a good indication that it’s time to flip it…

Gently, once you’re pretty sure it’s browned on the underside,  lift the sides all the way round. Then, with a large enough spatula, take the plunge, pick it up and turn it over…it should be lovely and golden on the other side…

Sweet potato pancake flippedDon’t worry if it breaks. Just try flatten it so the other side cooks. It won’t take long before you can slip it out onto a plate and zoosh it up with a delicious topping of your choice. I put on the berries and some cream….

Sweet potato pancake with berries…which is how you think I ate it…but this is how I REALLY ate it…doused in cream!

Sweet potato pancake smothered with berries and creamYum! It was good. The sweet potato doesn’t taste anything like sweet potato. It’s like a cake kind of base, that you could use for any number of dessert dishes. It’s absolutely worth experimenting with as a low carb option. Each pancake probably has about 7g of carbs. To get an accurate figure, I should have weighed the sweet potato. I didn’t use 2 cups as Dominique’s recipe called for…I probably only used a cup. Low carb purists may not want to use it because it is sweet potato and grows under the ground, but it’s worth knowing about!

Certainly not worth fretting over! Talking of which ‘do not fret’  was my Bible verse this morning. It appears three times in Psalm 37.

Psalm 37 vss. 1,7,8 -

“Do not fret.”  

The meaning of ‘fret’ is a state of visible anxiety.
9 letters altogether – “Do not fret”. If only we can internalise them – hard wire them into our brain so their impact flows through our veins, circulates through our minds & seeps calmness into our day. It’s a calmness that comes not from our own strength but from the empowering of the Holy Spirit, in whom we trust. What’s interesting is that 2 of the verses say do not fret about what others are doing. We so often worry about others – those close to us – our children. We also worry about what others do to us…workplace people, other drivers on the road, those we mix with in daily life. Where there are people, we have the potential to worry and fret. Verse 8 is surprising. It’s something I’ve never thought about before when it comes to worrying. It says, “do not fret – it leads only to evil.” I think what can happen is that it escalates beyond simple worry – it becomes bitterness and anger.. God doesn’t want us to be anxious. Lay down your concerns before Him today and take up the peace He offers! 

Keep the smile going!

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

Gratitude Pic: The Cottage cushions are finished….

New cottage cushions

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Horrible Childhood Memory


This morning I woke up with an unsettling childhood memory on my mind. It’s amazing how a strong sense of uncertainty and fear experienced as a young child, is carried into adulthood with such clarity and vividness.

We lived in 3 houses in the Waterfalls suburb of (what was then) Salisbury. 236 Cheviot Rd was our home until I was about 7. At the age of 8, we moved to 82 Henley Drive and were there for about 18 months before moving out the area for a year or so. When I was around 11, we moved to 62 Crete Rd. When this incident happened, we were living in Waterfalls, but my exact age, I cannot recall. Somehow I remember running back along a cycle track towards our Crete Rd house, but in my mind, I was far younger than 11. I was very young and vulnerable and should not have been doing what I was doing.

My older siblings had been having a lot of fun with nails and wool. They would make these amazing wall hangings. A piece of wood with a design of nails hammered into it. Wool would be pulled back and forth across the nails to create an amazing symmetrical design…

string_art_demo_08They were easy to make, fun to do and were ‘sellable.’ I, at my very young age, was told to go and sell them and I’d get a cut. Having no money, this was appealing in my eyes, so off I boldly went. I remember someone buying one and being jubilant at the $10,  I took another and went off to sell that.

There was a house close to the garage at the end of the cycle track. It had an open gate and a driveway leading up to the stoep. I guessed there was someone home, so I walked up the path and knocked on the front door. A man opened the door. I cannot tell you how old he was, but he had dark hair and a beard. I showed him the nail and wool picture and asked him if he would like to buy it. He invited me in. I walked into the lounge. He didn’t offer me anything, but he didn’t seem uninterested either. He engaged me in some small talk and then said, ‘come with me.’ Thinking he was going to get money to pay me, I followed him down the passage. He went into his bedroom. He said, ‘come inside.’ I was a little girl. I wanted the money. I took a step forward over the threshold. Then suddenly, something happened. Maybe, it was the way he looked at me, or the fact that he wasn’t doing anything actively to give me the money. I was compelled to leave. Gripped with uncertainty and fear, I ran back down the passage and, without looking back, I fled. My heart was pounding (as it is now!) and my mouth was dry. I ran until I was on the cycle track. I was afraid he would have followed, but he didn’t. I never tried to sell another nail and wool picture. In my young mind, I understood that something bad may have happened. What exactly, I wasn’t sure, but I knew that I had been saved from some kind of evil.  By God’s grace, I ran.

Proverbs 22:3

The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.

I look back on the ‘sixth sense’  that some may say I had and I see the hand of God on my young life.

But one thing, I know is that I don’t want this reflection to get any more head-space. It’s just not worth it….

Don't hold a grudge

Thank you Jesus, that I am FREE!

Time to embrace this majestic Cape Town ‘winter’s’  day…

Majestic day

Keep the smile going!

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

Gratitude Pic…perfect potted parsley…


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Looking Over My Garden Wall…


If you had to peer over our back garden wall, you would see it’s a bit of a jungle out there…this is from one side…

Jungle from the other sideAnd this is from the other…I got up there with my camera after they had begun to clear….

JungleWe have long been deciding to get it sorted and this weekend a team arrived to start the great garden clean-up. The found a number of residents enjoying our overgrown lot… a family of four chameleons feeling right at home, with one looking decidedly pregnant…

Pregnant mama chameleonAnother family member was more alert and ready to run…

Younger family member chameleonThere were more sinister home-makers…

One of several mole snakes foundWe’ve walked up there many times, thinking to ourselves there are probably snakes under all the undergrowth, but we’ve never seen any….they were there though….a number of them…they look like pretty harmless mole snakes. After several hours of clearing, the team had made good progress….

The big clear up beginsThey will be back next week to do more. We are so very happy about this. Our plan is to make a spot for the cottage guests to use, which is the above space. We also want to make a vegetable gardens. It will all happen very soon. Because, after all, as Genesis 2 vs 15 says,

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.

It’s about time we worked a little harder in the garden God has provided for us!

A beautiful, sunny day in Cape Town with the promise of more to come tomorrow. Lovely spring weather,but don’t get too comfortable…winter is not quite over yet!

Keep the smile going!

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

Gratitude Pic…while all the work was going on in the back garden, “Thread Therapy” was going on inside….lovely to have these friends round this afternoon…

Thread therapy friends

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Lots of Fun At 50


Today has been a day with friends, fun, laughter and sunshine. Just seems so appropriate for a Friday! It was up early and off to the Vineyard Hotel in Newlands for breakfast, in celebration of a cumulative 150 years – 1964 was a good year for my Bible study friends. There are 5 of us who celebrate our 50th birthday this year, three within a 2 weeks of each other and it was in their honour that we partied today…Deborah, Ingrid, Jo

Three lovely birthday ladiesWe sat upstairs and it was ideal…we were alone, so could make a noise and not disturb anyone! Food was great and there was plenty of it. I completely overate and certainly don’t feel as if I need any dinner! After more than 2 hours, we went for a walk in the beautiful Vineyard gardens, which I never even knew were there. This is the view of Table Mountain from the rear entrance to the hotel…

Table MountainWe went down to the …

Vineyard Hotel River WalkIt is very picturesque with a bridge crossing the river to a few secluded little spots. Bridges always make for good photos…

On the bridgeHere I am…this is taken from the other side….I call it my “I am Free!”  photo!I'm freeI took one of Sue…she’s free too!

Sue on the bridgeIt was a beautiful day…”winter” in Cape Town, with a good feeling of spring being in the air…

Beautiful flowersStrelitzia…


LiliesIt’s a short walk, but lovely….

River running byThere are a few places to sit and a couple of extra paths to wander down…

River pathI’m sure the whole feel in summer will be different with lots of shade. The trees are still without their leaves. Great way to spend a morning…but eventually we had to wind our way back to the hotel….

Walking back up the hotelLots of fun at 50. It will be my turn in the not too distant future…

Days until 5th NovemberAnd I am EXCITED about it!  :D

Leanne and I ended up spending some time together at the end of the journey home. She has walked through the fire of adversity and come out beaming! Right there in the middle of Food Lovers Market, she sowed words of power and love into my mind and heart. I got it. When we know Jesus, we know THE Creator of the universe. This is no small thing. We are filled with God’s Spirit. The One who made the ocean, the millions of stars, the ant and the elephant. He lives in us. There is no evil in Him. We are filled with His love. We are filled with His joy. We are filled with His peace. He reigns in our lives. We can live victoriously, with sublime happiness because HE is in us. When we take THAT thought and let it take over our minds and hearts, we can’t help but have a change of attitude and outlook.

Romans 12:1-2

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.

Yes, I got it!

Keep the smile going!

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

Gratitude Pic….friends…

Group pic of us celebrating 150 years

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Being Happy – Alone


It’s been 10 or 11 weeks since I left my job as a radio presenter on CCFm. Within a short time, I noticed two things…it felt as if my social circle had shrunk and the house was very, very empty and quiet.  Initially, I didn’t like it. I’m a social person – I want to get out and get my people cup filled!  I have also been doing a bit of freelance work from home, via the internet and, there’s LOTs of “home”  work still to be done….a room full of Granny’s stuff to be sorted. All of this is done on my own. Mike leaves at just after 5am and gets home 11 or 12 hours later, so I can find myself alone for most of the day.

Yesterday, I tackled one of the jobs in the cottage that I had overlooked. The other day, I walked into the cottage bathroom and as I walked out, I looked up…oh my…that looks dreadful…


When I am alone, I talk to myself! You have to! I rejoice over hot, home-made cappuccino; I do a jig in celebration of the new day;  I thank the Lord for the ability to get up and I just become a good friend to me! Ha! Maybe there’s something in that. Let me tell you that if you were a fly on the wall of my home, I believe you would be wanting to send men in white coats to carry me away!  But if I can’t be a friend to me, how can I be a friend to others. I guess I’m practicing on me!

I had decided over the weekend to make Wednesday the day that I would tackle the dreadful moldy walls. One of the things that I knew I would have to do is wear old clothes. I thought about what I could wear and finally decided to see if Mike’s overalls would fit me. The bottoms may not, but the top should. I tried them on! A major celebration….the bottoms also fit! I feel thin!

Me in Mike's overallsHa! Ha! You really wanted to be looking in through the cottage window to see me taking this photo. I set it up against the window with the self-taking setting on. I didn’t put on the timer, but if you bellow “shoot”  at it, it will take the picture. So there I was yelling “shoot” and then smiling, “shoot” and then jumping, “shoot” and then grinning! You get the picture! It was fun!

So for this wall-cleaning exercise, I needed a bucket, old cloths, jik and a mildew buster…

Cleaning stuffAnd,  really important, I had gloves…

GlovesI also needed a ladder…


Truffles was sitting outside on a plastic chair, so I picked her up, chair and all and put her in the cottage with me…she wasn’t so sure about this…

Truffles for company

When I am alone, it takes some mental attitude to remember God is with me. Drawing Him in on the activities is always a good thing.” Thank you, Jesus, that I could do this. Thank you Jesus for a job well done!”

AfterVoila! Much better! Grateful!  I cleaned above the door and above the window on the other side of the bathroom as well. I went to the cottage at 9-20am and by 10am, I was boiling the kettle for tea. It didn’t take as long as I thought it would. I felt a great sense of achievement.

Deuteronomy 31:8

“The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Good words to bring to mind. You may spend a lot of time with yourself, but you are not alone. God is with you!

Keep the smile going.

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

Gratitude Pic…this morning, I went to gym and Melanie got a photo – lunge dips, her new favourite phrase “pull that belly button towards your spine!”  Yes ma’am!

Lunge dips at gym -me at gymHappy thing to do today: lunch with my friend, Mary. :-)


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If Robin Williams can’t cope with life, who can?


The suicide of Robin Williams has shaken people across the world. Because he was a comedian, a brilliant actor and a fantastic entertainer, one expects he would be happy. It goes to prove that just because you are funny, it doesn’t mean you are Robin Williamshappy. You can put in a lot of other words in the place of  ‘funny’  too.

Just because you are RICH it doesn’t mean you are happy.

Just because you are SUCCESSFUL, it doesn’t mean you are happy.

Just because you are BEAUTIFUL, it doesn’t mean you are happy.

Just because you are MARRIED, it doesn’t mean you are happy.

Just because you are NOT ALONE, it doesn’t mean you are happy.

Just because you are a CHRISTIAN, it doesn’t mean you are happy.

Just because you LOOK HAPPY, it doesn’t mean you are.

That’s the sad fact of life.

In the Bible, David, King of Israel,  wrote numbers of psalms, pouring out his depressed state and lamenting his condition. His son Solomon, the man the Bible states was the world’s wisest – wrote of how meaningless life is.

While I have not personally experienced an extended period of depression, I have lived with someone who has. It is not easy for the family to try and come to terms with how the family member feels or what to do about it.

I come back down to my Five Word Foundation: God is my only Guarantee. He is. No one else can save me except Jesus & He is God.

He has to be my root of happiness. In the Bible, Paul writes he has ‘learned to be content.’ I’ve always remembered that contentment is ‘learned.’  It may not be something that happens overnight. It is a process and probably a life-long one. We all change. There will always be uncertainty in our lives. We need to practice contentment.

How? Here’s what I do:

I get up in the morning and I spend private moments committing the day to God. I lay it before Him. I ask Him to bless it. I ask Him to protect me – I ask Him to close doors He doesn’t want me or my family to walk through. He is my only Guarantee, so it is the obvious thing for me to do….to leave my life with Him & rest in the knowledge that it is safe in His care.

I read the Bible. I learn from the history of it. I take in the promises of God. I am reminded daily of His love and concern for me. What is important to me is important to God. I believe that.

He says to you today, Psalm 46 vs 10

“Be still & know that I am God.”

You may be inclined to think that if Robin Williams can’t cope with life, who can?

Corrie Ten Boom said it well, ” I can’t but God can.”

It’s time to believe it. God can sort out your problems. Stop worrying about them and lay them down, mentally, emotionally, physically, relationally and spiritually making every effort to leave them with God. Trust Him. And see what happens.

But sometimes, that doesn’t seem enough. You’ve done all that and still a horrible melancholic feeling of unhappiness assails you. There are other things you can build into your life to learn contentment….

1. Smile – I know it sounds crazy, but I have concentrated on what happens when I lift my lips into a smile and found it remarkable that some positive chemical reaction immediately happens in my brain.  It’s an instant ‘feel good’  feeling.

2. Have a routine. I think we are built for order. When we are not sure what to do next, it brings upon us a mental confusion and emotional turmoil that can make us flustered. Plan your day, so you know what’s next. It will make you feel more in control. This I have learned from Julian, my brother, who has a to-do list every day. It’s a healthy habit.

3. Plan something different and positive EVERY DAY. When you plan it, you can anticipate it. Plan a little you time…a little pleasure that you enjoy. I asked Mike this morning what good thing he was planning today and he said he was going to treat himself to a bacon and egg sandwich. Something to look forward to!

4. Stop rushing. Go slower. Make a concerted effort to slow down. Stop and look. When the traffic lights are read, don’t look down at your cell phone! Look around you. Notice the clouds in the sky – look for colours at traffic lights. When you are walking, smile as you go. Look into the faces of passers by. See if they smile back. Ask everyone you interact with how they are. Recognise they may be having a bad day.

5. Sow into the lives of others. We have the opportunity to make someone’s day, every day. If you see someone with a lovely smile, don’t just think it, tell them. Whenever I do this, they can’t believe what they’ve just heard and they always ask me to repeat it! It leaves them with a warm fuzzy feeling. You hold it within your power to build someone up each day. My niece, Jessica, first year student teacher, doing prac at a school for the first time, insecure, uncertain, overwhelmed, had a young child come up to her on the playground and say, “Miss, you are very nicely!”  It changed her day. It was memorable and has been repeated over and over again. One comment. Small child. Be the difference.

6. Let it go. I’ve said it before that if someone says something or does something that you perceive as offensive – you don’t need to TAKE it. You choose to take offense. It’s best to let it go. See it as a deviant cricket ball being bowled, that you allow to go through to the keeper. Life’s too short to take offense.

7. Be useful. I always feel at my best when I have had a constructive kind of day. I’ve been productive. It may mean doing a grotty job. Just get started and when you are done, you will feel so much better.

8. Do something to resolve any problems in your life. If you are struggling financially, do more than sit around moping about it. Find a job. Make a plan. It may be becoming a newspaper deliverer, a shop assistant, or dropping flyers in postboxes. If you need money, find a way to earn. Having been unemployed, I know that big jobs are not easy to come by, but menial jobs are more available. If you are prepared to do the small jobs, you will earn. I was the butt of a few jokes when I did a job that gleaned me about R20 an hour! It was such a fun, but humbling experience. If you have financial issues, do whatever it takes to resolve them. When you have a plan, you will feel better and more motivated.

9. Find friends. Don’t wait for friends to come to you. If you are lonely, go make yourself some friends. You will always find people worse off than you. Visit a frail care, or someone you know is shut in. Volunteer at an abandoned baby home or orphanage. Find company, join a Bible study or take up a hobby that you can do with others.

10. Know yourself. It may be that you have a chemical imbalance that needs more than these tips. I remember many years ago, I was overwhelmed with negativity and wanted to drive off a cliff. I know myself well enough to know that this is not normal. I figured with my age at the time (40ish), it could be hormonal. A blood test and visit to the doctor confirmed it. He told me that the most common medication he prescribes for women in their 40s was HRTs, but the second most common was anti-depressants. Be aware of this and seek medical attention.

One other point is to comfort yourself by the reminder that this too will pass.

Soooo, now you know why I say, “Keep the smile going!”

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

Gratitude Pic…today, I get to meet Trish for coffee…..this picture if from March last year…  :-D

Lunch with Trish

But first, I need to get to the cottage bathroom- clean the walls – #7. :-)

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