Gratitude Journal

1-30pm

Regularly, on Facebook, you see people writing three things they are grateful for. They generally have been nominated by a friend and have to do it for 5 to 7 days. When I was nominated, I sat down and wrote down all 21 things I was grateful for. But as the days passed and I put up the posts on FB, I realised there were more as the days went by. It got me thinking how good a gratitude journal is. It’s not necessary to display it all publicly, but I think it is beneficial, and hugely so, to have a book and to write down what has made you grateful during the day. It may not be 3 things. It may only be 1 or it maybe 4. It’s a heart thing, that makes you look at the good in your life, instead of the negative. It’s easy to see all that’s bad in the world. It takes effort and intention to look at what is good.

We live by faith. We can’t always see the good stuff. It’s like my ‘sea view.’ From our bedroom balcony, we can see Noordhoek beach and the sea (in the distance). But over the last few years, trees have grown and there are a couple of them that now obscure the sea view….

View from our balconyI know the sea is there and even if the trees blocked the entire view, I know the sea is there. And so it is with heaven. 2 Corinthians 4:18 says, “We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

This is my list….

21 Things I’m Grateful For -

  1. My salvation and my relationship with God – He sets my feet firmly on the ground and gives me security no one else can give. I’m grateful that I came to know the Lord when I was 14.
  2. The Word of God – it guides me daily.
  3. Many many many answers to prayer. Points 4-10 are a few of them.
  4. My husband Mike. I strive to be better because of him and for him.
  5. My children, Stacey and David – they are my greatest achievement and Adrian, who is a great son-in-law.
  6. My brother, Julian – he has enriched my life more than he knows. And the memory of my older brother Arnold, who died too soon and who I miss very much.
  7. The rest of my family – including my sister, Anne, nephew, Darryl and niece Jessica – their friendship and their welfare are both important to me.
  8. My late parents, who have passed onto me my personality traits and writing gifts that bring me great joy! And of course the remembrance of Granny, who bought us much joy.
  9. My friends. I have a fabulous bunch of friends – lots of laughter and joy.
  10. Mentors – amazing women of God who have sown into my life and contributed to my spiritual & emotional maturity.
  11. My cat – Truffles has bought us so much pleasure even if she does give affection on her terms!
  12. My home – it has been a roof over my head for 25 years.I’m grateful for deep roots.
  13. The privilege of being able to raise my family close to the beach.
  14. The blessing of living in Cape Town. Sometimes I like to say, “I live in Cape Town” out loud! 31 years ago I came from landlocked Zimbabwe, yet I still am so grateful for Cape Town which is magnificent with mountains and sea.
  15. Seasons, both the weather ones, that provide such variety for our world, but also for the seasons of life – sometimes life will feel a little cold, but warmth is coming.
  16. Not having to get up as early as I once did. It’s fabulous to be able to get up as late as 5am.
  17. Maturity – I’m going to be 50! There are many who have not made it to this magical age. I’m mature! There is a great deal of self acceptance that comes with age.
  18. My health! I’m so happy to wake up with no health problems and with a smile on my face and a song in my heart.
  19. Contentment – because I have been ‘learning to be content’ for quite some time now, I’m beginning to be more content.
  20. Daily occupation – now that I am no longer on the radio, I’m grateful for other things to do.
  21. Technology – my computer, cell phone, the internet, Facebook, all add a flavour to my life that makes me be able to socialise without leaving the comfort of my home.

It’s a great exercise to write down what you are grateful for on a daily basis. It makes you look out for things to appreciate and to simply learn to live life with an attitude of gratitude.

Someone who appreciates ALL that God has done for him is Hennie Otto. Yesterday, he won the Italian Open and gave the glory to God….

Hennie Otto

He has a story of anger and fury to tell… when you have been forgiven for much, you appreciate your salvation all the more…

Hennie Otto’s Story

The other thing to do ALL the time is keep your sense of humour and don’t sweat the small stuff! I’ve been at home doing housewife things for 3 months and yet this morning Mike could not find socks! It was just after 5am. I jumped out of bed and said, “I can’t believe it! I must be help you with this.” I found him socks and he left for work shortly after. Later, when I’d got up, I found his socks and I put them in the cupboard…they are all black, so you can’t really see that they are socks, but when he comes home, this is what he will see when he opens his cupboard…4 pairs of socks with labels…

Labelled socks

When you make work fun, life becomes an entertaining game! Can’t wait for him to see them! And hey YOU…reading this at Mike’s office…don’t tell him! It will be interesting if he comes home having had someone come up to him saying, “So Mike, couldn’t find socks this morning? Don’t worry, your wife has got it sorted!”  When I was on air, he regularly told me the people at work know more about his life than he does!

Keep the smile going!

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

Gratitude Pic for today….I stood on my balcony at 7am and joyfully admired the wonderful sunrise…

Sunrise on the 1st September 2014

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Princess Diana – 1st July 1961 to 31st August 1997

10-10am

It’s 17 years ago today, also a Sunday morning, that the world woke up to find that beautiful Princess Diana had died in a car crash.

Princess DianaI remember that day, as if it were yesterday. We didn’t turn the news on that morning. After waking up and getting the children ready, we left for church. No one said anything before the service, but during it, a lady got up to pray before the offering was taken. She prayed something about a gardener passing as well as a princess. I thought that was a bit strange and wracked my brain to imagine what she could possibly mean. (Of course, this was 1997 and I couldn’t just whip out my cell phone and google it).

It was only when Pastor John got up to preach and opened his sermon with the words with something like, ‘who could imagine…’  and went onto paint the picture of a beautiful princess losing her life after an accident in a Paris tunnel.

What a shock. I was stunned. We hurried home after the service and spent the rest of the day glued to the TV, devastated as we watched the dramatic events of the night before being replayed over and over again.

I learned a few things through the life and death of Princess Diana.

1. Nothing is ever as it seems. 

You watch the images, read the papers, scroll through the internet of famous people, but you never really know what’s going on behind the scenes. You don’t know what is going on in other people’s lives. It is even the same with the people in your life…those friendly faces of the people you call your friends…you may see every day…yet behind the closed door of their lives, things may not be all it appears to be. The dreadful circumstances of being hounded by the paparazzi, the gloomy depression of not being accepted by the royal establishment, the ongoing sage of their being ‘another person’  involved in her marriage, Princess Diana’s life was far from perfect or happy.

2. Outer beauty does not mean inner happiness.

Now that so many years have passed and so much has been written about the life and times of Diana, the Princess of Wales, we hear first hand how dismal her life really was. Plagued by an eating disorder, loneliness and a desperate sadness, her outer beauty belied an inner turmoil that ate away at her happiness. Watch out for your beautiful friends. Outer beauty doesn’t mean inner peace and contentment.

3. Just because you are rich and famous, it doesn’t mean you are happy.

Most people long for rich and fame. “If only” is often thought or even spoken. But the most famous face in the world did not result in happiness. And while married to Prince Charles, she would have had access to any amount of money or possessions, yet unhappiness plagued her. In recent times, it has been Jim Carrey who has made famous a quote that underlies this notion…

Jim Carey quote about rich and famous“…have everything they ever dreamed of.” I could imagine that Princess Di had everything she ever dreamed of….to marry the future king of England; to be a Princess and one day Queen. To live in a palace; to have endless staff at your beck and call. That sounds like what fairytales are made of….yip. That’s because that’s what they are: ‘fairytales’. They are not the way to happiness. If there is to be a ‘happy ever after’ in that scenario, it’s not going to come from the circumstances of royal privilege. Rather it will come from a deeper place. It will come from the riches that this world cannot buy – inner peace; joy, happiness, laughter and contentment. You are very wealthy when you have these gifts. Cash in the bank is helpful but it’s not the full answer to happiness.

4. No matter how famous or protected, one day you will die.

And that’s the truth. No amount of security or protection could prevent Princess Diana from dying that night. No amount of top medical attention could keep her alive. She died at the age of 36 and will be, in our worldly eyes, eternally beautiful. Nothing can protect us from the inevitable. Death will come.

The only thing I know to do, is to be ready. The only way I know to be ready is to believe what the Bible says (Why You Can Believe The Bible) and the one central message of the Bible…that God wants a relationship with us. He wants us to know Him and to trust Him.

And so I do and in doing so, I know I’m ready to die. It really comes down to one of the most read Bible verses:

John 3:16: For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

In life, Princess Diana gave me a lot of pleasure, mainly in enjoying her beauty and the dream of her life. In death, she gave me understanding that life has a lot more to offer than the fairytale lead us to believe.

princess-diana-2_2646947b

Certainly, she will never be forgotten.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx

Gratitude Pic….Breakfast yesterday morning with friends! Yay for Paul and Nadine – married 4 months….

Paul and Nadine

Lovebirds!

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You Are As Happy As You Choose To Be

9-07am

I’ll be honest, the title, “You Are As Happy As You Choose To Be” is what I believe, but that does not mean I don’t struggle with the idea of it. My struggle comes in the knowledge that there are many people in the world who, due to circumstances entirely outside of their control, have a really tough life. I do not have a chemical imbalance, so do not know what it is like to be clinically depressed. That is a terrible dark place to be and needs medical intervention. I know that you can’t magically invent happiness, but there are a lot of people who are unhappy on purpose and let bad things that have happened to them, that are past influence their lives today. While I have had some tough things happen in my life, I have survived them and they have not defined me.

We all sit on a spectrum of positivity. Some have a natural tendency to hang miserably on the negative side, some bounce joyously on the positive side and most bob along in the middle. I’m about 10cm from the end of the positive side. My glass is always half full. There is always light at the end of the tunnel (and it’s not an oncoming train!). Every cloud has a silver lining. I wake up in the morning and smile at the world. But while I am a happy, joy-filled person, I don’t believe I’m ‘off the chart’ crazy happy. I’m just normal happy, because I choose to be.

Recently, the reason for this became clearer when I watched Beth Moore in her series, Breaking Free. She said, ‘when the game is on, the chains are on.’ I didn’t fully understand what she was getting at until it was explained more clearly  by someone who Breaking Free course bookstruggles with depression. Even though this person is on medication, sometimes she wakes up in the pit of despair. She began to understand that at that moment, she has a choice. When the chains are on, the game is on. She can choose to play the game – be miserable, self-centred, unhappy, negative, wrapped in self-pity, embracing the game the devil wants her to play – it’s all about ‘me’ – I’m not well and I deserve to wallow in a pit of despair, and in doing so, the chains of bondage remain fiercely bolted to her ankles, restricting her from getting anywhere in life. OR ELSE she can remember, that when the game is on, the chains are on. If she wants them off, she can choose at that moment to not play the game….to force her mind to seek a more positive thinking pattern….to drive her thoughts and then her speech into words of power that will freak the devil out and send him scuttling pathetically away from her. No one else can do this for her. “If it is to be, it is up to me”. SHE CHOOSES which road to walk this day. She knows the Way:-

“I am a Child of God! He is my Saviour. He is with me. He will never leave me. He wants me happy. He has created me and I am in His everlasting Grip. He will never let me go. I am His. I am Secure. In Him, I am happy! And so I will walk through this day with my hand in His. His arm is around my waist. He is guiding me kindly, sweetly, carefully. He is gentle with me. He NEVER leaves my side. He is my protection. He is my  security.

To God be the glory, great things He hath done,
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life our redemption for sin,
And opened the life-gate that all may go in.

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,  Let the earth hear His voice;Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,  Let the people rejoice; Oh, come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,   And give Him the glory; great things He hath done.”

It is true, that I don’t know how you feel or what you have experienced and how difficult One Waylife is for you. I can’t solve all your problems. There is only one thing I can do and that it direct you to the One Way I know. There is only one Person who can help you. Turning to Him in your time of need won’t only change your life, it will change your day.

This is your journey. Choose to believe God. Choose to trust in Him. Choose to believe the Bible. In doing so, you choose life.

Deuteronomy 30:19 ” I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live.”

Ephesians 6:12  “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Choose to keep the smile going.

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

Gratitude Pic…last night in the darkness of our bedtime hour, snuggled up in bed, Mike and I watched a bit of our favourite movie…(he has it on a flashdrive and we plugged it into my netbook)

Darcy

 “In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” (Ahhhhh! Darcy!)

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A Slow Metabolism? How To Increase It

3-46pm

Last week,  when I met clinical dietitian Sonja, she had me stand on her really technical machine that analysed more than I wanted to know. One of the things that came up in the results was that my metabolism was slightly on the slow side, so since then, I’ve been trying to rev it up a bit. I also have done a bit of digging into what’s up with my nearly 50, female metabolism. I learned: if you are female, you will have a slower metabolism than an equally aged male. You can inherit slow metabolism. The older you get the slower your metabolism gets. In women, it seems metabolism slows as oestrogen levels drop. If you have found that you are struggling to lose weight, motoring up your metabolism is one way to try and break through the plateau. So the next most obvious question is HOW?  This is what I discovered:

MAKE MUSCLE – To increase your metabolism, make muscle. Each kilogram of muscle burns about 12 calories per day. Compare that to each kilogram of fat which burns only about 4 calories per day. In order to increase your metabolism, increase muscle mass. Multi joint exercises are best for building muscle in over 50 year old women. The kind of exercises you want to familiarise yourself with are push-ups, pull-ups, bench press and shoulder press. If you prefer to walk, buy a couple of weights and walk with those for more of a power walk. Make sure you consult a doctor before getting on an exercise plan. Then seek out a trainer who can assess you and start you on a plan that will suit you.

Gym

MOVE MORE – the truth is as long as we are keeping active, we are increasing our metabolism. Get your heart rate up 4 or 5 times a week. Do mini workouts on slow days – run up and down steps 50 times a couple of times a day. Just rev up your heart rate a bit to jump start your metabolism. It’s a great thing to do first thing in the morning, even on a ‘gym’ day.

To increase your metabolism, GO FASTER. The older we get, the more inclined we are to walk instead of run, dawdle instead of power walk. To increase your resting metabolic rate, speed up your aerobic workout. Try intermittent running, or if you are jogging, include a short distant sprint. This will increase your heart rate and increase your metabolism once the workout is over and you are resting.

AIM FOR 8 ~HYDRATE! Here’s something you may not know. If you are at any stage slightly dehydrated, your metabolism slows down. According to Webmd, a study found that those who drank 8 or more glasses of water a day burned more calories than those who only drank 4. Unless it’s very hot or you are very active, I don’t believe you need to drink more than 8 glasses of water a day. Don’t overdo it otherwise you may become waterlogged.

Ice water with fresh mint

SNACK or STARVE? In years gone by it has regularly been suggested that by having 5 or 6 small meals a day, your metabolism will be quicker than if you go too long between meals. The jury is still out as to whether this is accurate or not. In my reading, I found both schools of thought. Some eating is good for metabolism – while others said the food has to be eaten anyway and will do the same amount of work in digesting the day’s calories whether in comes in 5 small meals or less bigger ones. While those who follow a Banting lifestyle say protein is better for metabolism than carbs, those who are not carbohydrate intolerant say a combination of carbs and protein works for them. You’ll have to experiment with what works for you.

Perfect fried eggs

I am sure there is more to say on the topic, but that’s all I’ve got for you so far!

Sources:

Philippians 3:12

  “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own…” 

Ha! Keep on keeping on!

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

Gratitude Pic…a beautiful double rainbow this morning….from my balcony. Is it not amazing that God continues to put these in the sky as the forever reminder of  never again will there be a flood.

Rainbow

 

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5 Things I Have Done Differently Over The Last 5 -10 Years

2-11pm

As I head towards the end of a decade and move from the frenetic 40s to the fabulous 50s, I am finding myself reflecting on the past and what I’ve got right and what I’ve got wrong. I can think of a number of things I did right and I will continue to work on them.

1. Move More ~Ten years ago, I was close to 8kg heavier than I am now. 2004 was a pretty bad year for me and as I headed towards the end of it, I realised there were no guarantees 2005 was going to be any better. There were circumstances I couldn’t control, but I could control my response to them. If difficult times came, I needed to put myself in the best possible position to cope and that included getting my act together when it came to my health and fitness. At close to 80kg, I felt like a bit of a blob. I felt unfit and uncomfortable. I regularly woke up with backache. I needed to improve my health and if it was to be, it was up to me. No one else could do this for me. So in 2005, I signed up at a gym and started exercising. Slowly the weight came off and I got down to the weight I am now. I would like to say, “I got down to my pre-pregnancy weight”, but that is an hysterical joke! I would like to lose 5kg from where I am now, but it would take a loss of about 10kg to get me to my pre-pregnancy weight. As an (almost) 50 year old post-menopausal woman, who has had two children, if I ever got down to 62kg, I think I would look haggard and emaciated!

2. Eat Less ~ I have often thought the biggest regret I had in raising my children was feeding them as much sugar as I did when they were young. But, when you know better, you do better and over the last 5 years, as more and more information has Cappuccinocome to light as to how bad sugar is for you, I’ve cut it as much out of my diet as I am able (and as my self-control will allow)! I certainly have become wiser as to where it’s hidden and I am far, far, far, far more picky about what to eat when it comes to sweet stuff. I won’t waste precious allowance of sugar on stuff like cold drinks or donuts or chocolate bars. Generally, overall, I choose my calories more carefully. My favourite treat will include a croissant, but on a particularly wicked day, I’ll indulge in liquorice. It’s loaded with carbohydrates, so it’s a rare delicacy. When family members visit (cough ~ you know who you are!), I may be persuaded to share a dessert.

3. Know Myself ~ I think this is one of the most significant things I’ve learned during the last few years. I’ve got to know myself better and I think I’ve grown in confidence. As I walked the journey through menopause, I could feel when I was hormonally depressed. When my emotions see-sawed unreasonably, I knew that was not normal. That’s not me. It’s not my natural personality type or response. In knowing myself better, I understand more of how to cope with me, get on with me and actually like me…after all, I’ve got to live with me for the rest of my life! The self -acceptance that comes with getting older is a hugely freeing feeling. I care less what others think. Criticism slips off my back more easily. I listen to harsh comments to see if there is anything in them. If there is, I try and do something about it. If there are not, I let it go.

4. I’ve LEARNED To Be Content ~ In my younger years, I was always ‘wanting’. But as I have got older, I’ve learned that happiness doesn’t come from stuff that’s bigger or better. Happiness comes from acceptance of what you have. I remember something Stacey once said. She had been to an Alpha group and one of the women there was talking about her special needs child. Stacey told her something like God knewNic Vujicic what her child would need and knew that she would be the best Mom for her. In a similar vein, I remember Nic Vujicic saying if he had to have no arms and legs, he would be the very best legless, armless man he could be. The same goes for each one of us. If we are to be married, determine to be the best spouse. If we are to be single, determine to be the best single person. If we are to be a single parent, determine to be the best single parent. Whatever your situation, just be the best you can be. Part of contentment is finding appreciation in little things. Open wide your eyes to the beauty around you and when you spot it, stop and appreciate it. Look at what you have and appreciate every last little bit. Another facet of this, is learning to be happy. Sometimes, I don’t wake up happy….I behave myself to happiness. It’s a habit now. I will glory in the day I will jump up and down in joy. I will smile at myself in the mirror and not say, ‘oh my what a mess,’ but rather, ‘look at you, sweet thing!’ I have learned to treat myself with the encouragement that I so easily offer to others. In learning to be content, I have learned to be happy.

 5. The Real Foundation ~  Over the last 5 years, I’ve discovered the real foundation to a happy life lies in something far deeper than we, as human beings, can muster up. My happiest, most fulfilling moments are in those times when I purposefully set aside time early in the morning to pray. The security & peace I have experienced through meeting

  1. Favourite Bible versewith God in those pre-dawn hours surpasses understanding and is of eternal value. I’ve been a Christian since 1979. Since then, He has always been my Foundation and my Point of Reference. But when I started sacrificially getting up earlier in the morning to meet with Him, something more intimate happened. A daily in-filling of the Holy Spirit that I can tangibly feel takes place during those encounters. That gives me ability to do anything…I can’t, but God can. He does. His Word guides and directs my path. It keeps me grounded. I’m far, far from perfect – I’m broken,  but in His presence I find  wholeness.

It leaves me grateful! Very grateful! I will keep looking for Him in earnest.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you!

Helga xx :-)

Gratitude Pic…humour – thanks Trish for posting…

I won't get down to my original weight

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5 Banting Principles Even the Critics Can’t Argue With

9-18am

Tim Noakes is in the news again….this time 4 professors from UCT have signed a scathing letter to the Cape Times, criticising his promotion of a LCHF/Banting Lifestyle. Prof Tim is also a professor at UCT, so it’s a bit ugly coming out against your fellow workers…sort of like kindergarden, when young kids can’t get on! They are ‘telling on!’ but having no teacher to go to, they go to the press!

Read the article here.

But there are 5 things which every eater can employ, that even the biggest critics of Banting cannot argue with.

1. Cut sugar! If there is only ONE thing you ever do in your life from now on, let it be this one: cut out as much sugar from your diet as you possibly can. I understand that SugarChristmas, Easter and birthdays come around, but let sugar be a HUGE exception to the  rule as to when you eat it. You will not believe how quickly your taste buds adjust to less sugar and you will soon be finding even the smallest amount sickly sweet. No medical critic will argue with this one.

2. Eat less! Generally, most people reading this, will agree that we all have eaten too much or do eat too much. If this is not the case, obesity would not be a problem in the world…

We all eat too muchWe don’t need the amount of calories that we are used to consuming. Don’t fill your plate so full. Don’t snack. Eat when you are hungry. STOP when you are full. No medical critic will argue with this one.

3. Eat healthy fats/protein. There are numbers of healthy foods that fit all categories eg. Almondsavocado pear, raw nuts, olives, olive oil,  fish, macadamia oil, free range chicken, ostrich meat.  No medical critic will argue with these. Because you are eating less, you are not eating large quantities of them!

4. Cut out refined carbohydrates and anything with additives in them. Read the labels of the food you eat and chuck those that have anything added.  It is a known fact that preservatives, corn syrup, chemically derived sugar additives, saturated and transfats, artificial flavouring, colourants and MSG are bad for you and in the long term can cause chronic illness. Every medical practitioner and clinical dietitian will agree with this. Sadly, even the commercially generated bread we eat is refined with sugar added. Cakes, donuts, chocolate bars, sweets, all ‘choc’ full of artificial stuff, that we were not designed to eat.

Read this article for more: -Ten Worst Food Additives and Where They Lurk

5. Know what you eat. Become informed. Read labels, investigate. The less refined the food, the better it is for you. Pluck it off a tree, pick it off a plant, watch a chicken lay it, catch it in a lake. When you know where it comes from, it is going to be far better for you than if you pour it out a box. No one will argue with this.

So let’s stop bickering and employ the common ground when it comes to eating.

After all, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1

Keep the smile going.

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

Gratitude Pic…I got up on this cold winter’s morning to make coffee (everyone agrees coffee is GOOD!), so I made it BIG!

BIG COFFEE

 

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Living in a Bubble

9-09am

That’s what I feel I’m doing. This morning, I had more understanding why I’m living in my Bubble. Today, I leaned up close to the thick, translucent fabric to see what the real world looked like. It was bad. No wonder I’m here. I went onto the CNN website and read about ISIS. I didn’t even know what it stood for. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.  Their brutal captivity and then killing of James Foley has made their acronym of Living in a BubbleIsis a new term, *    known by the world. For a short moment in time, I was carried into life of James Foley and his family. It was excruciatingly painful. No wonder I’m here in my Bubble. I find it difficult to come to terms with the brutality and ugliness that pervades our world. I want to cover my ears & shut my eyes. I don’t want to hear, I don’t want to see the horrific stories of bloodshed and murder. It’s too much for me to bear. After reading it, I feel tainted and sore, bruised and terribly sad. And, I feel helpless. And it is that deep feeling of inability to do anything that drives me back into the centre of my safe bubble. But now that I have seen and read and heard, I feel guilty ignoring it.

This is not a new personality trait of mine. Burying my head comes with being nervous of reality and refusal to accept the truth of life, preferring rather to focus on the good. That was what I did when I was on air as a radio presenter. My policy was that the world was doing such a great job of reporting the bad news, putting dark & fearful thoughts in the minds of listeners, I didn’t need to do it. So I chose to focus on the good. If there was a dreadful front page headline, I lightly glossed over it, softening hard terminology – and offering hope in God in a dark, dark world. Sometimes, I chose to ignore it altogether both personally and professionally. Call me biased? Absolutely! It was my executive producer decision to make the Rise and Shine show positive, also aware that not only did I have adults listening, but a lot of children as well.  I guess after 10 years of purposefully doing that, it became an ingrained habit, well surrounded by a strong Bubble.

The violence of 2014 is not new. Reading the Bible gives you insight into events that are difficult to understand. There was brutality then as well. My response to them is the same as my response to the wickedness of today. It is beyond understanding. There are too many whys. All I can do is remind myself that we live in a fallen world. While there is sin on earth, there will be ugliness and brutality of this magnitude. But there will also be mountains of good, avalanches of kindness, an earthful of beauty and above all a God of justice who, in the end, will have the final say.

And so, I’m staying in my Bubble. I can see what’s going on outside of it. I am mindful of it and prayerful for it. My Bubble has a deeper foundation and a permanent hope. My Bubble cannot be burst by this world. More than two centuries ago, Edward Mote was born. He penned these words:

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

With the well known refrain:

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

The fabric of my Bubble is only useful if it is to be stronger than that which this world offers. Let the hope I have in Jesus Christ be the impervious protector of my mind and my life.

I conclude by saying that those who confront the issues, who face them head-on, who report on them daily and bring them to the people’s attention – they too need a Bubble of protection. They need a greater Foundation, a bigger Hope, an eternal Security in order to cope with what they face on the front line. Miraculously, you can be in your Bubble and face the dark stuff.  Ephesians 6:10-18 couldn’t be more applicable…

The Armor of God

“10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God,so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvationand the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

We can do this!

And in doing so, we can stay positive, optimistic and happy because we have a greater Hope!

Keep the smile going!

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

Gratitude Pic…on Sunday afternoon, Julian dragged us to Noordhoek Beach (after the 10km walk in the morning!). I’m so glad he did. It was so beautiful. My favourite pic of the day I took while walking through the lagoon on the way back to the car….

LagoonPS. I’ve still got two “Remembering Rhodesia” blogs to come. The next one is on the Oil Refinery Inferno, but I haven’t got to it yet. I hope to have it up next Tuesday.

* Picture of the girl in a bubble is from www.anthologymagazine.com

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After Spring Weather, Here Comes the SNOW!

2-50pm

After walking in sunshine for a few hours yesterday, today’s forecast was sunny, becoming cloudy with a little rain this evening.

Todays weatherThat’s my AIX forecast, which is on my cell phone start up screen and which I have found to be very accurate. Accuweather says this…

Cape Town weather today

Note the “expect rainy weather Tuesday evening through Wednesday morning”. Apparently, the rainy weather is going to be pretty cold as well…

Snow report 1

Okay, so just for those living overseas and not frequently visitors to Cape Town, we are NOT going to be looking out of our windows at snow drifting gently to the ground. The snow falls on the surrounding mountains, but it is widespread…

Snow report

I love it! I love the cold and am quite happy for it to continue! Not everyone concurs…my friend Trish opened the conversation on FB….

FB winter commentSo, if this week is going to get chilly, what about next week? Ta dum, Ta dum, If Accuweather is to be believed, the new month of September, the first official month of ‘spring’, will live up to her name…

Next weeks weatherThat will please the sun-seekers!

There is a Bible verse which is fabulous for this time of the year. It comes from Song of Songs 2:10-13

10″My beloved spoke and said to me,  “Arise, my darling,   my beautiful one, come with me.
11 See! The winter is past;  the rains are over and gone.
12 Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling;  my beautiful one, come with me.”

God has that in mind for us after dark seasons of our lives. He reaches into our hearts and says, “Arise!” He calls us “Beautiful” and “Darling” – loving terms of endearment. He offers us the promise of a fresh start. He walks along side us and leads into the future with renewal, having put the darkness of the past behind us.

After the cold, the sun will shine! Rest in His loving embrace!

Keep the smile going…

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

Gratitude Pic…this morning, I sanded down 2/3 of the balcony! This is ready for varnishing…

Balcony

 

 

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Steam-Train Sunday

2-39pm

Today has been a magnificent spring day in Cape Town and I have the photos to show it. With Julian in town, he wanted to go for a long walk! We parked at Kalk Bay and took off towards Muizenberg, passing the “dead centre” of KB. One day we will stop here to see how old the graves are…

Dead centre of KBWe walked through to St. James and with the tide out, walked around the tidal pool…

St James from the tidal pool wall….and back to the path between St. James and Muizenberg. The view is breathtaking…

Stunning view as you come through the subway to St James beachWow! We live in a beautiful city. The path was busy. We got to Muizenberg and were fascinated by a guy “power paragliding” over the beach and sea….now THIS is what I want to do…it’s a parachute with a motor…

Motor paraglidingOur destination was the Sunrise Circle Sunday market. It was quite a walk from Kalk Bay, but we soon got there and spent a while browsing through all the stalls. Being on foot, we were not inclined to buy anything too big or heavy. I settled on a R20 purchase…4 simple bowls -R5 each. Completely inexpensive by SA standards, but please convert that into $, euros or pounds (less than 50c each -about 20p!)

BowlsAlready tired from our walk, we still had the return trip to do…so we didn’t rush it, slowing to admire the spring flowers…

Spring flowersRetracing our steps, we walked a short way along the Muizenberg – St. James path…

St James walk…before getting onto the Main Rd. We spent most of the time chatting about each mountainside house we passed, admiring gardens, commenting on architecture, stating preferences and imagining the inside. Soon we got back to Kalk Bay and collapsed at a table at one of the many road side cafes….aaaaah, cappuccino…

CappuccinoWhile we were on foot, may others weren’t….Cape Town’s steam train puffed into the station and I got a perfect picture of it as it toot-tooted it’s way out…

Steamtrain SundayRun by a private company, Atlantic Rail, the steam train either runs from Cape Town to Simonstown or from Cape Town to Stellenbosch Winelands. There are only 2 trips a month and prices range from R250 to R450. I like just watching it go by.

We walked just under 10km and got home ready to rest! I had put a roast in the slow cooker and prepared veggies ahead of time, so it was just a matter of popping the roast in the oven to brown, cooking the vegetables and lunch was done!

A lovely day indeed.

The earth is made for us to enjoy.

Isaiah 45:18

For this is what the LORD says– He who created the heavens, He is God; He who fashioned and made the earth, He founded it; He did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited– He says: “I am the LORD, and there is no other.”

I certainly enjoyed His creation today! :-)

Keep the smile going.

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

Gratitude Pic…this is my favourite photo of the day. The view takes your breath away as you come out of the subway to St James Beach…

Favourite picture

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Three Banting Recipes – And Some Beautiful Sea Point Views

11-45am

Yesterday, I took a drive to Sea Point to meet up with a friend – Mary. She’s staying in a friend’s apartment while hers is being renovated. Wow, what a view! It was like being on a ship, looking out over all of Table Bay, with Robben Island in full view and the West Coast in the distance. With a little too much glare from the afternoon sun, no photos were able to capture the full magnificence of the sweeping views, but you will get an idea from these few. To start with, this is the view from the kitchen sink… if you have to do dishes, this view would be first prize…

Kitchen viewThis is what you would see from one of the dining room chairs….

Sea Point corner viewAnd this is the vista from the lounge…

Massive Sea viewFantastic!

Mary introduced me to her friend, Sonja, who is a Clinical Dietitian. She has done a lot of research into Banting, needing to investigate for herself whether there is anything in what Tim Noakes suggests. She has had to look beyond all she has been taught and unravel the possibility that eating a low carb high fat diet is right. In doing so, she has discovered that there is something in this and so is stepping out into putting it into effect in her own life and in Mary’s! She’s also been experimenting with some of Sally-Anne Creed’s snack recipes and guess what? I was the ecstatic recipient. Imagine me arriving hungry and enthusiastically being served this…

Guilt-Free Chocolate Almond (or Macadamia) Butter Balls

Guilt free chocolate Almond (or macadamia) Butter BallsAll Banting. And today, you get the recipes! Win!

Ingredients

  1. 4 Tablespoons Creeds Almond Butter OR Creeds Organic Macadamia Nut Butter
  2. 2 Tablespoons Creeds Organic Honey (that’s very little over 12-15 balls) you could use xylitol though!
  3. 2 Tablespoons Creeds Cacao powder, and a little extra for the coating
  4. Zest of a good organic orange
  5. Squeeze about a tablespoon of orange juice out of the orange after zesting

Instructions

  1. Mix all the above into a bowl and mix well using a fork.
  2. Now roll them into little balls (should make around 12-15 depending on size)
  3. Gently roll into the extra cacao powder and enjoy these with impunity
  4. Keep in the fridge

Notes

  1. Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Low Carb, Guilt-free!

By Sally-Ann Creed

They were simply delicious. So were these…

Sesame Crackers

Sesame Seed crackersThese were amazing…very biscuit-like and perfect with cream cheese.

  1. In a large bowl, stir almond flour, salt, sesame seeds, eggs and oil until well blended
  2. Separate dough into two halves
  3. Line two large (12 x 16) stainless steel baking sheets with parchment paper
  4. Place one half of the dough in the center of each lined sheet
  5. Cut another piece of parchment paper and place it over one of the balls of dough
  6. Roll dough out between the two pieces of parchment paper, until it is ⅛ inch thick and covers the entire baking sheet; remove top paper and repeat process with the other piece of dough
  7. Cut the dough with a knife or pizza cutter into 2 inch squares
  8. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown
  9. Cool and serve

Makes 96 crackers

Sonja has also made these, which look soooo good…

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Superfood Breakfast Ball Ron Gabriel

Breakfast Balls

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/3 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/3 cup walnuts/pecans
  • 1/4 cup black sesame seeds
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of your favorite super green powder (optional)

Directions:

Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor.

If the mixture is not moist enough to make balls out of, add 2-3 tablespoons of water and continue mixing.

Scoop out mixture with tablespoon and mold into balls. Eat right away, or refrigerate. Lasts several days in the refrigerator.

Tip: Keep some in the refrigerator for days when you don’t have time to make breakfast. You’ll have a fast, nutritious breakfast that will keep you going.

So there you go…3 Banting recipes and some wonderful Sea Point views. I got the best being able to visit and with these two precious friends!  Thanks Mary and Sonja. In fact, I’m going to be seeing Sonja again. You can too sonja@restore2health.co.za.

Eating God’s way is good.

Genesis 9:3

Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.

Keep the smile going!

God Bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

Gratitude Pic…my brother is here for a visit…

Julian at Rhodes Mem

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