Zanzibar Day Three – Princess Salme and Spice Tour – A bit of a bumpy start

7-45pm

The internet has been very slow, but everyone is now at dinner, so it’s sped up!

Today we planned a full day out. We had booked an excursion that would take us on an historic tour, follwed by lunch at one of Zanzibar’s famous Spice Plantations. The due departure time was 9am. When 9am arrived, our driver had not! Ooops! After waiting a few minutes, a call came through from the tour guide company, saying they had sent the driver to the wrong hotel and he would be with us in an hour….oh and by the way, we’ve charged you too little and so you have to pay R400 more! I was so not impressed and came close to cancelling the whole thing (we have another tour with them tomorrow). Anyway, after a little chat (everything is negotiable) and an hour’s wait, we were soon on our way….hurtling through the Zanzibar countryside. There was much to be seen and to take in… this cute little girl on the road…

Little girl

A donkey cart….

Donkey cartAnd closer to town, more sophisticated buildings and women…

Muslim womenEventually, we arrived at our first stop…

Mtoni Palace RuinsThis historic site was the home of famous Princess Salme, a daughter of the second Sultan of Zanzibar. Born to a Russian mother, she lived a life of luxury in the Mtoni Palace, which once looked like this…

BeforeBut it was ruined in the 1964 revolution and now looks like this…

NowBut it is slowly being restored…

RestorationIt was a fascinating peek into life hundreds of years ago…this is a coffee pot…

Coffee pot

After that, we were taken down to the beach, took our shoes off and waded through shallow water to get into a small boat with an outdoor motor…

On the speedboat

That in turn took us to an authentic Zanzibarian dhow…

Authentic dhow

It too had an outboard motor, but once we’d picked up some speed, the sail was hoisted…

Putting the sail up…and we enjoyed the peace of sailing through tropical waters..

Tropical waterWe each were given coconuts and had a long refreshing drink….

Drinking coconut milkThe boatman skillfully cut the flesh out the middle and we ate it…

High fatThat was memorable. What was also memorable was arriving at the other side. It wasn’t a plush marina – quite the opposite. We came ashore at what can only really be described as a beach squatter camp!

Fishing childrenWe were taken to a tap where we could wash our feet…

Washing feetThis is REAL Zanzibarian life….

Village lifeRound the corner to be met by another means of transport…

Poor cowA few steps away, we entered through a door in the wall and found ourselves in Princess Salme’s Garden. After some conflict in her family, she stayed at a home on the beach and had an exotic garden with flamingos and other beautiful birds and animals. Nowdays, the building is used at a school and the garden is not too much to look at..

Princess Salmes gardenTo one side, though, a table had been laid and we sat down for some authentic Zanzibar coffee, but first, hands were washed…

Washing handsCoffee time….the coffee is not strong and quite spicy…it reminds me of Chai Tea, only it’s coffee!

CoffeeOur next stop, on this very full day, was to the Spice Farms. This was an eye opener. God has made all things good and we saw and experienced a variety of the common fruits, spices and medicines we use. Gerrie tried chilli!….It was HOT…

Gerrie eating chilliThese are what coffee beans look like…

Coffee beansOnce of the most amazing trees we saw is the one that bleeds…

Tree that bleedsIt’s an iodine tree…next time you use betadine or any iodine products, remember, the tree bleeds!

We ended the tour with a typical Zanzibar meal. Then laden with fruit & spices, we were taken back to the hotel. It stirred emotions. Many people trying to eek out a living. Tourism is the biggest money generator, followed by cloves. It’s not an easy existence.  It’s very difficult to get your head around any form of prosperous future for them.

Back at the hotel, I chatted with Pearl….here’s our photo from this morning…

Pearl

Isaiah 24:15
In eastern lands, give glory to the LORD. In the lands beyond the sea, praise the name of the LORD, the God of Israel.
God bless you!
In His Grip,
Helga xx :-)
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Zanzibar – Day Two – Beach Walk

3-09pm (ZTime)

We had such a good night sleep last night. Mozzies abound, but as we ate dinner, elaborate mosquito nets that hang behind our bed were put in place. We snuggled safely in our tropical indoor tent bed, safe from the buzzing drone of the island’s insects. This morning dawned, still and beautiful….

DawnWe sat down for breakfast at 8am….

BreakfastAnd right after that went for a long beach walk…on a lovely overcast day…temperature about 25C

Bit of rain coming

There are a few things you notice immediately….the tide is out…and so there is an enormous amount of beach…parts are hard sand and easy to walk on. Other bits are a bit soggy, but you can hope over the puddles…

Mike and GerrieThen there is the muddy stuff, that makes it an exercise to get through, especially if you are wearing slip slops, which we were. You tend to get ‘sucked in’. Gerrie had tackies on, so he climbed over the coral….

Gerrie scrambling across coral ledgesJulian got a bit stuck in the mud!….squelch…I did too, but ha ha, I have the camera!….

Julian stuck in the mudWe had fun though…hello from Zanzibar!….

Hello from Zanzibar

We walked far along the beach, passing local women who were just hanging out….

Local women just hanging outFishing is the local industry and there were hundreds of fishermen at work….

FishingWe also passed a fishing village, which looked pretty idyllic from a distance…

Coastal village

But when you got a bit closer, it wasn’t so great…

Beach goatAlong this stretch of beach there are several large, abandoned derelict houses…

Derelict house 1One wonders about their history. Fishing boats are just left on the beach, waiting for the tide to come in….

Fish boat waiting for the tide

Boats are not the only form of transport…

Boat and bike

You don’t hear traffic noise here. The main sound is the buzz of insects, the early morning tweet of the birds, the wind rustling through the palm trees,  and the laughter of people enjoying the pool. The tinkle of crockery being laid for meals reminds me that it’s almost time to eat!

Our room is spacious….

Bedroom from the balcony door

And the balcony, which is where I’m typing this blog is cool and comfortable. The furniture is solid, locally built and typically Tanzanian….

Our balcony

No chipboard here.

Last night, as soon as darkness fell, an entire population of lizards appeared. One stopped long enough for me to snap him….

Lizard

While, on the beach, you are kept company by a multitude of sand crabs. They shoot out of holes and race across the sand…..I didn’t think I’d ever get a photo of one, but today, I did…

Sand crabThe internet this morning was painfully slow. Mike seemed to think it was not the resort connection, but rather what happens between the resort and the outside world. Talking of which, we have no idea of what’s happening in the news. No TVs here. It just makes life so perfectly slow and relaxed. This is an absolute holiday. Three hours from Joburg. Who knew!? After lunch, I tried post the blog again and eventually gave up to the point of thinking I may not even get one up today! I had a snooze instead. When I woke up a short while ago, voila, internet had come right! Yay!

Tomorrow, we are going out for the day. I’ll do my best to get up a blog, but if I am successful, it won’t be before tomorrow night. TIEA (This is East Africa!)

One last fun thing that happened was meeting Pearl. Last night, at dinner, a lady came across and asked if I was Helga! Yay! Pearl from Port Elizabeth was reading my blog and saw I was coming to Zanzibar. She wondered which resort I would be visiting. There are hundreds of resorts on this island, so imagine her surprise when she discovered we would both be at the same one. I must get a photo of us together.

:-)

Isaiah 42:10

Sing to the LORD a new song, His praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, you islands, and all who live in them.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you loads!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

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Zanzibar – First Day – First Impressions

 

9-12am

It seems very strange that the time as I start today’s blog is only 9-12am, yet at our destination, which is about an hour and a half away, it is already 10-12am. We will arrive in Zanzibar around noon, 11am Cape Town time. I’m writing this on the plane, having downloaded some photos from my phone. So far the flight has been very smooth with only about 5 or 10 minutes of minor tuburlence.

My alarm went off at 4am this morning. It had been a restless night. This is one flight we have to be on. Miss today’s flight and the next one is only on Saturday! I really didn’t want to oversleep. As it turned out, I woke up a few minutes before my alarm, woke the family and by 4-20am, we were ready to roll on out. 5 of us with all our luggage crammed into a van and 25 minutes later we had arrived at a surprisingly busy O.R. Tambo airport.

We checked in and got our boarding passes….

Zanzibar here we come

….and then headed for a coffee shop for a, by now, desperately needed cup of coffee. We hung out there until it was time to board. The sun was just rising…

Airport sunrise

The plane was ready….

Boarding

So were the pilots….

Pilot

Shortly after take-off, when the announcement was made that we could turn our cell phones back on, Mike connected with the overhead satellites and discovered how high and fast we were going….

Just after take off

We soon settled down, travelling at 839km/hour at 11 255m….fast and high….

Over Mozambique

Just over an hour later, we were in sight of our island destination…with Stone Town featuring as the main centre…

Almost there

Our approach took us over the sea…it was nothing less than absolutely spectacular…

Approaching Zanzibar

We soon landed and taxied down the runway towards the terminal building. Zanzibar is part of Tanzania, a poor third world country. Don’t expect plush air conditioning, with duty free shops and extensive lounges. A series of busses was on hand to take us from the plane – a warm, humid 27C reminded us: this is the tropics….no air conditioning in these vehicles, but we didn’t mind…

Busses

Off the bus and welcome to Zanzibar…

Zanzibar airport

Next stop was customs which was quick and painless. Then we went to get our luggage! Ha! Conveyor belts of our modern airports? Completely overrated! No, instead fight to get to the front of three windows (holes in the wall) where luggage is piled up ready for eager hands to claim their own….

No conveyor belts

Mike carted 3 golf clubs and a putter all the way here…and in due course, they appeared….

Golf clubs

With all our luggage finally in hand, we exited the building and found an eager driver with our name on his paper. He bundled us all into his (air-conditioned :D ) taxi and we set off for the other side of the island. We passed a vast array of unusual Zanzibarians – many hurtling helmetlessly along on scooters, the colourful headscarves of lady passengers blowing behind them. Cyclists, taxis, goats, cows, builders, children, shopkeepers all to be seen crowding the roads, going about their regular Tuesday business. It was not entirely unfamiliar to typical South African  township life. After about 30 minutes, the roads quietened and the landscape changed to become more rural. The road flanked by forests and plantations. Unexpectedly, a petrol station came into view. We turned right and then right again, this time onto a narrow dirt road. We sensed our destination was around the corner. It was. Driving through very un-ostentatious gates, we drew up to a plain looking building. This was Ngalwala Beach Village! Apprehensively, we went inside to be met by the owners. After registration, our suitcases were taken to our rooms. As we left the reception building, we went down a long flight of stairs, being cheerfully greeted by workers as we went. The resort unfolded before us and it was GOOD! Whew! Our room is the top corner one…

Our room is top right

The view from our balcony is fantastic…

View from our room

The beach is just below, warm inviting water…

Hammock deck and sea

We’ve had lunch and now we’re off for a walk. More tomorrow!

Psalm 97:1

The LORD is king! Let the earth rejoice! Let the farthest coastlands be glad.

Keep the smile going!

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

Gratitude Pic: Last night, I saw my sister for the first time in about 6 years…it was great to catch up…

Anne and I

 

 

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Next Blog From Zanzibar!

4-08pm

My next blog, God willing, will be from Zanzibar! We’re all packed and ready to go. There are some essentials…of course, passports, but also malaria tablets and Yellow Fever vaccination cards…

Malaria tabs passports yellow fever vaccine cardsI’ve got sunblock, stuff to keep the mozzies away and sunglasses….

Sunblock etcApparently in Zanzibar, there’s lots of tipping to be done and they don’t want SA rands, so I’ve got small US currency which is what they use…

Small currencyI have no idea of what to expect. Right now, I am in Jo’burg and sitting at blog-reader Michal’s house quickly finishing off the blog. We caught flight from Cape Town this morning…

Mango flight one….and zipped along at 11000 metres above the earth at more than 900km/hour…

Zipping along at 900km an hourMike’s amazing cell phone Open Source Maps (OSM). If you have android, load it up! It’s fantastic!

Whatever is going on in your life, remember these words:

Habakkuk 3:17-19

Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls– Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills.

The best is yet to come.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

Gratitude Pic….the blessing of being able to travel…

Boarding

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A Little Bit of Wrath

4-01pm

Yesterday’s blog drew a lot of attention. It got me thinking that perhaps what I”ll do is scan in the newspaper articles from 1978 onwards, so others can have the opportunity of reading them. That will take a bit of time, though, and won’t be done in the next week or two. I’m in the process of packing for Zanzibar!

Mike played a round of golf (I caddied) at a very busy Simonstown Golf Course. This is the view from the 2nd hole, but I have to confess it was not taken today! Today’s weather was overcast, no wind and perfect conditions for golf.

Simonstown golf course viewNo wind today! Simonstown Golf course, I believe, is the only Golf Course in the country with a sea view from every tee and every green. We love playing there, BUT….

…today, things, for a short while,  got a bit tense. It was because the 4-ball behind ours was not waiting for us to get to the green and sometimes their drives were landing around us, before we had played our second shot. Two of our group were furious about it, so there was a bit of tension between us and them. We were just finished one hole and were walking to the next, passing them as we did. You could feel the atmosphere. One of the golfers was standing waiting for us to pass. You could see he was very stoic, not wanting to say anything. He almos looked a bit unsure, because he didn’t know who it was that was getting so cross with his group. So he just shut up and stood next to his ball, trying to be invisible! We had to walk right past him. Mike looked at his ball and then smiled broadly and said, ‘what a great drive!’ “Thank-you!” the golfer said, smiling back. All the tension melted away. Mike diffused everything!

The phrase ‘a gentle answer turns away wrath,’ actually comes from the Bible. Proverbs 15 vs 1. It goes onto say, ‘a harsh word stirs up anger.’

Well done Mike!

Mike & Helga ready to goMike played well. He’s definitely improving. There are no golf courses in Zanzibar. The first one is in the process of being built and we are told will only be complete in October. I am pretty sure that we probably won’t visit Zanzibar again….it’s just one of those places you go to & you don’t really need to go to again. We have got an incredibly good deal through Mango, which includes flights, transfer to and from the hotel and full board for 7 nights. I am excited! First 50th birthday celebration!

While passing through Jo’burg, I’m also excited to be able to see my sister, Anne, who I haven’t seen for years!

Keep the smile going!

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

Gratitude Pic. Anne put this as her status – I shared it. Today it is my gratitude pic, in appreciation for my health.

Appreciate your health

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Tragedies Of My Past… I Went Cold

10-47am

As I have watched the events unfold of the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, it has raised painful memories of my past. On my bookshelf, is a scrapbook, I seldom pick up. This morning I did. I went cold.  I made this scrapbook as a teenager. I called it “Rhodesia’s Last Years” and it covered newspaper articles of several of the tragedies that happened during the war years.

Rhodesias Last YearsI was a young teenager, witnessing these events, not understanding the politics behind them – only seeing the enormous tragedy of each of them. The contents page, in my own 16 year old handwriting,  outlines the main stories…

Contents pageThe first Air Rhodesia Viscount disaster happened on Sunday 3rd September 1978…

Breaking news of the first Viscount going downMore information came out about it…

Stories relating to first Rhodesian Viscount disaster 1978As search parties rushed to try and find out what happened, a gruesome discovery came to light….

The horrorThe emotion that this article raises in me is extremely painful. The cold fear that gripped out hearts. The terrorists would stop at nothing. The brutality and senselessness of it all is overwhelming…

Story of the shootingEight people survived a harrowing night, trudging more than 10km over rough terrain.

Five months later, on Monday February 12th 1979, a second Air Rhodesia Viscount plane was shot down by a terrorist missile. There were no survivors…

Second story breaksFive members of the Boyd family from New Zealand were on that flight…

The Boyd FamilySo very tragic. No one was every ‘bought to book’ for these brutal murders.

It’s nearly impossible to try and make sense out of these tragedies. Where is God? These are questions asked down through thousands of years…

Psalm 94:
3 How long, Lord, will the wicked, how long will the wicked be jubilant?
4 They pour out arrogant words;  all the evildoers are full of boasting.
5 They crush your people, Lord; they oppress your inheritance.
6 They slay the widow and the foreigner;  they murder the fatherless.
7 They say, ‘The Lord does not see; the God of Jacob takes no notice.’
22 But the Lord has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge.
23 He will repay them for their sins  and destroy them for their wickedness;  the Lord our God will destroy them.

We live in a brief moment in time – a split second – within the eternity of forever. The Bible is a single cross-stitch in a colossal tapestry. We get a fragment of what happened – God’s plan is so much bigger -” no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived….” There will be no easy answers this side of eternity – if there were we wouldn’t be living by faith.

In His Grip,

Helga xx

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Friends On My Mind…

12-43

Today, I’ve been on a roll in getting some vital stuff done before our trip away next week. I went and got some foreign currency, picked up a book from the library…

Book…then I went to a salon for a bit of a sprucing up. At 2pm, I’ve got a hair appointment. I’m on track for relaxing over the weekend.

I have had my friends on my mind. One of them is having radiation treatment at the moment and I went with her on Wednesday. Riana has said she is happy for me to interview her for my blog, so one day that will appear here. It will be insight into her journey thus far. But for the moment, you get a slice of the experience of going to Vincent Pallotti for radiation. Vincent Pallotti’s oncology department has certainly put Cape Town and South Africa on the map with the recent acquisition and commissioning of the Novalis TX. We are told two things about this machine. One, it cost R59 million and two, it is the most sophisticated radiation machine in Africa.  According to an article from November last year, (New Hope For SA Cancer Patients),  it uses high-precision energy to target small tumours without damaging surrounding tissue. According to the article, oncologist Dr Jacqueline Hall says the beams released the required high energy only when they simultaneously reached the cancerous cells. There is no machine that monitors tumours the way this unit does. Here is Riana, about to try it out…

R59 million Varis Radiation machineThe whole unit at VP has been revamped, allowing for a spacious, airy environment, beautifully decorated…

Lovely decorAnd all the technology is cutting edge…

Loaded with technologyRiana only has good things to say. She’s had a very positive experience thus far. When I get back from Zanzibar, I’ll sit down and we’ll have a little chat about it and about what she has learned.

Talking of friends, I know I’ve probably mentioned before how easy it is to skim over the many verses of the Old Testament that include loads of names relating to the kings and how they ruled. I’m reading 1 Chronicles at the moment and have landed in chapter 27. I have been trying to read intentionally. Today, I saw a verse I’ve never seen before. Did you know that there is someone named in the Bible – the only reason for him being mentioned is because he was a friend of the king. There it is, snuck in the middle of verse 33:

…”Hushai the Arkite was the king’s friend.”

Amidst scribes, counsellors, officials and administrators, we have this brief insight into King David’s life. Hushai was his friend. I just find that so poignant. That was his title and his job. Hushai must have stood out and been widely known as King David’s friend. It must have significant for the author of Chronicles to highlight it. Mentioned in the Bible for being a friend. We all need friends. We must never overlook the importance of our friends. They deserve a mention in the chronicles of our life. Appreciate them today! And be a good one too!

Exciting stuff happening at the Open Golf Championship. George Coetzee who turns 28 today had an excellent round and has finished on -5, which is off the lead. The wind has picked up and it’s going to be a gruelling afternoon when the remainder of the pros take to the course. (From the BBC/sport live score website:Coetzee birdies lastHappy birthday George! You can do it! Well done for setting the pace! I love seeing the SA flag so close to the top!Love seeing the SA flagThe wind is picking up in Cape Town too. It’s been a cold, blustery few days with the Mother City living up to her “Cape of Storms” name. I have to admit, I absolutely LOVE this weather. Mike & I were talking about it the other day. The reason why we love it so much is because we get so little of it in relation to the many sunny days we also experience in winter. We only have a 3 month winter and the stormy days are intermittent. If we lived in England, I think we would be like the English and long for the sun!

“I have learned to be content”…

Keep the smile going!

God bless you!

In His Grip

Helga xx :-)

Gratitude..thank you Lord for my friends, who walk my journey with me and help me unpack my baggage…

Friends help you unpack the baggage

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Most Important Day Of My Life…

1-26pm

You have absolutely no say in the decision of being born into this world. You arrive, wriggling, kicking and hopefully screaming at the top of your lungs. You can’t request a ‘do-over’; you can’t ask to be sent back. You have arrived and once you’re here, you’ve just got to go with the flow and, as you grow up, you have to try figure out how best to live your life. My journey has included discovering God and His amazing plan for my life. It didn’t happen overnight though.

Early Seeds

I think the first seeds of understanding that there is a God who cares for me were planted when I was a young child and my parents took me to church. I also remember being 10 or 11 and going to a youth group on a Friday evening. There the  gospel was shared and I heard it. I didn’t do anything about it, but it was a seed. When I went to high school, I went to the Scripture Union class. There, Mr. Revell, an outspoken declarer of the gospel, proclaimed it. I don’t remember what he said, but I do remember that there were people who were “in” and there were people who were “out” of the gospel circle. I was out. That’s the only strange recollection I have of that meeting – it was another seed. I remember being about 12 or 13, when a friend of my Dad’s arrived at the back door of our house. It’s a clear moment in time that I recall. The lady, standing outside the house; me standing inside the kitchen, with my hand on the door, telling her my Dad was not home and feeling like I wanted her to go away. By now, my Mom had moved out and my Dad was quite set in his eccentric ways. He had drummed religion  firmly into me and I, to be honest, was so over it! He had some (in my mind) strange friends and this lady was one of them. She asked me if I was a Christian. I wanted her to leave, so I mumbled something that I thought was appropriate and ended the conversation. It was another seed.  I never forgot her concern for me.

It was soon after that that I changed schools. My Dad was very concerned for my welfare. With him working shifts, it meant that I was regularly home alone for long hours, including overnight. Despite Dad’s dabbling in numerous off-beat religious groups, he, amidst them all,  had come to faith in Jesus and he was praying for his 4 children. He met the local Baptist pastor of our new neighbourhood and told him a little of his story. It led to a conversation about me and my Dad’s shift work. The pastor said he would phone me and invite me to his church’s youth group that Friday evening.

The Call

He was true to his word and early in the afternoon I received a phone call, inviting me to a braai that evening. I knew no one there,  and absolutely DID NOT want to go. I tried to find excuses. I had no meat. I had no transport. He said he would supply meat and pick me up. Eventually, I gave up and agreed to go. I went. I enjoyed it and soon I was going every week. I found acceptance and friendship there. It was refreshing, because, to be honest, I was struggling to settle into my new school and was feeling insecure and rejected! There were people at the youth group who were at my new school and I was beginning to make friends.  (Friends who became very special and with whom I’m still in contact today include Graham and Jenny Priestner. Jenny was then a Davey and I was at school with Judy Davey, her sister. I don’t think Jenny will ever fully know how much God used her to make me feel more secure!)

The Challenge

One Friday evening, we were divided into groups of 5. Each group had a designated leader who had been assigned to ask us a very important question. The leader of my group was 17 year old Dave Rudolf. He asked each person individually, starting with someone else, so I got to hear the question and their answers before I had to give my own. Eventually, he came to be and he said, “And you Helga, what about you? Are you ready to die?” By now, I’d had several minutes to plan my answer. It couldn’t role off my tongue in honesty because I didn’t have the ‘right’ answer. The right answer was that I was ready to die because I had ‘invited Jesus into my heart’. This was the strange sentence  bandied about on a regular basis. I would hear that to be “saved” you had to “invite Jesus into your heart”.  Somehow Christianity and acceptance into the “in” circle involved this “inviting Jesus into your heart.” If you had, you were ready to die. If you hadn’t, you weren’t. I hadn’t. I wasn’t. Faced with Dave’s direct question, I half avoided eye contact and said, “yes.” He looked at me, almost questioningly, and then nodded quietly saying, ‘that’s good!’

Whew! Got away with that one!

Or had I?

As I left the youth meeting that evening, my poor answer gnawed away at me. I felt so guilty. I wrestled with the problem the whole weekend. The truth was, I had lied. I knew I wasn’t a Christian and actually, if I did die right then, I would go to a Christ-less eternity. That was the bottom line. The only person I was really fooling was myself. I knew I had to do something. I thought about calling Dave and telling him the truth. That would have taken a LOT of pride. I thought about just sweeping the whole thing under the carpet, suppressing any guilt and just getting on with my life, but that wouldn’t make me feel better in the long term. No, the only right thing to do was to make my answer right. To ask Jesus into my heart.

The Glory of the Gospel

The glory of the Gospel lies in its simplicity. God has not called us to climb mountains to get saved. We just have to believe. It’s a step of faith. I encountered that glory on the evening of Tuesday 17th July 1979. In the quietness of my bedroom, on my own, I prayed. I asked Jesus into my heart and for Him to take over my life. That done, I knew then, that I was ready to die. That was it. That’s all I did. Yet life changed. God became my Anchor. The storms could buffet my world, but I was secure. Jesus was in my heart!

35 years ago today. It’s been an amazing 35 years. I’m grateful for them. I’ve traced God’s hand upon my life, seeing Him work in remarkable ways. I’ve witnessed His Holy Spirit move in an astonishing way moulding me into the person I am today. His faithfulness knows no bounds. Even in my darkest hour, He has left me with a lasting sense of His presence and acknowledgement that He is in control.

Isaiah 55:6

Seek the LORD while He may be found; call on Him while He is near.

It’s so worth it! So today, I celebrate. I rejoice. My heart sings. I am grateful. My cup is full.

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

Gratitude Pic…thank you Jesus for 17th July 1979…17th July 1979 :-D

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Being a Good Old Stepford Wife – NOT!

12-29pm

Today I looked up the definition of “Stepford Wife”. Here’s what I found:Stepford Wife“Old-fashioned subservient role” – that’s quite an interesting definition of what our parents and grandparents may have considered appropriate as the ideal wife. You just have to look at the word subservient to understand that I am not she!

SubservientJust look at that:”prepared to obey others unquestioningly.”  That’s not me! So if I’m not wanting to follow the example of a “Stepford Wife,’ what model can I follow?

In my Bible reading this morning, I came across Proverbs 19:14,

“Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.”

I guess that means that being prudent is good, so what exactly does it mean?PrudentOther synonyms mean cautious, discreet, wary, careful and circumspect.

I can try be that! In fact, I need to work on my Prudence! God has given us wisdom! We can’t go through life, repeating, ‘ah, don’t worry, God will provide’ and spending money foolishly. God WILL provide for us, but He has also given us a brain and ability to work and to be careful with the resources, He has provided.

I think I’m going to start a series on Biblical Wife Rules. Prudence can’t be #1 because there are a few Biblical wife principles prior to Proverbs, so I’ll have to apply my mind and work my way through the Bible, mentioning them. It will be interesting to see how many I come up with.

Talking of the future, today, the week spinning by and I have some stuff to plan for. We are wanting to buy another couch, so today I will be looking…Sarrington oxblood1_web-320x163Then, here’s some news that some of you who already know, must be wondering when it’s going to be mentioned on my blog. You know I’m turning 50 in a few months time….YEAH! Half a century. That’s so cool! Well, as an early birthday present, we are going to Zanzibar for a week!

280px-Map_of_Zanzibar_Archipelago-en.svgIt’s going to be a fun and interesting adventure. We’ve chosen a hotel that has free wifi in public areas, so hopefully it will be working and I’ll be able to carry on blogging!

I’m looking forward to it!

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

Gratitude Pic…posted on FB by Leone, don’t you love South Africanisms… I’m going to get out of bed, JUST NOW!

Just now

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Feigning Ongoing Happiness

2-14pm

Every now and again, the whole concept of the masks we wear raises it’s head in my life. It began years ago when I was asked if I wasn’t wearing a mask while I was on air….was I feigning ongoing happiness?

Wow!

At the time, I concluded that although I may not have started the day off happy, as my time on air got going, I ‘became the mask.’ I behaved my way to success. Life has  many ups and downs, but for some people, it may come in long, drawn out seasons of downs that seem to have no end. Those who struggle through the cloud of difficulty wear a mask and hide under being FINE.

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with a friend about being FINE. We talked about how often we just say we are fine, but meanwhile there’s a whole lot of turmoil going on underneath…FINEYou can try hide behind being FINE to your acquaintances, some of your friends and maybe even family, but you can’t hide being FINE from God. He’s got your back. He really doesn’t want you being Fragile, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional. He wants you to be Fabulous, Invulnerable, Normal and at Ease.

What fascinates me about getting older is how it’s still possible to feel as vulnerable and insecure as I did when I was an inconfident teenager, fearful of unacceptance and wallowing in poor self-esteem & rejection. It’s easy to go back there and embrace all the ridiculous insecurities of donkey years ago! The fragility and pain rises up inside of us and we feel pretty Fragile, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional! There is something that I do to counteract these negative feelings and lies which somehow I revert back to. For a few minutes, I imagine what God thinks of me. How does He see me? Does He see me as pathetic and  unable? Has He not equipped me with a deep, inner strength and resolve to find everything I need in Him? I have been bought with a price. He has filled me with His Holy Spirit and infused me with great lashings of love, joy, peace and patience. He has added kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. They go against my human nature, but because I have Him in my life, He miraculously casts a dye through my humanness and paints it with the beauty of His fruitful Spirit. How then, can I criticize me, when I have been worked on by such a loving God. When I lambaste me with negativity, am I not in some way also criticizing God’s handiwork?

And so I’ve learned to cut myself some slack – to give myself a break….to rest in the knowledge that although my life is far from perfect, I can rejoice each and every day, because the God of all joy is in my heart. I’m His masterpiece! He does something physically with my brain and my soul so a sense of contentment can envelop me.

Ephesians 2:10

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.

I’m not sure if anyone would have read all the above, but at least it clarified it for me! :-D

Keep the smile going!

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

Gratitude Pic: This is a crazy one. I have made a lot of notes in my Breaking Free Work book and my pencil was blunt. I didn’t have a sharpener and kept forgetting to buy one! TODAY I DID! Ta da!

Sharpener and pencilStay sharp!

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