Tuesday, December 20, 2005


I confess to a certain smugness last week. By Wednesday I had finished my shopping, decorating, wrapping and cards. Plenty of time, I thought, to relax and enjoy life. Then I woke on Thursday sick. I am never sick. A week later and I am just starting to move about again. All those things I was going to relax and do when I wanted to are now piling up into a heap of alarming size. Not quite what I planned at all.
School is now over for the year, David is on holiday, Diana is having a wonderful time in NZ, Andrew and Ann are happily looking forward to their first Christmas in their new home, Mum is well, and here I sit with the Christmas lights twinkling, and I am so thankful for all the real blessings in my life. Perhaps having a rest (enforced) at this time of the year is a special gift.

Monday, December 05, 2005

2005 rushes to a close

Well, it is THAT time of year again.............. time to catch up with all our friends and relatives around the globe, who we think of so often, but rarely find the time to contact during the year. Time to battle through the piles of things in the loft to find the boxes (unlabelled of course) containing all the Christmas decorations. Time to mutter promises to declutter as soon as I have a moment to spare. Time to remember the last mailing dates for the entire world. Time to shop for presents for everyone, wrap them, and stock up with enough food to last a small nation for weeks. Time to try and find replacement light bulbs for Christmas lights that always blow as you plug them in. Or on Christmas Eve. Time for the babes to dance around the lounge to a battery operated singing Father Christmas.
Don't you find that this is also the time you make the most resolutions? I will start next year's shopping in January. I will make all my presents next year. I will label the decorations. I will buy bulbs when I buy the lights. It is, of course, great fun too.
And then, this is the time when we look back over a year that has seen tsunamis, hurricanes, floods, bombs, earthquakes, hunger, poverty, misery and bird flu and realise that we are so unbelievably lucky to be here, healthy and safe, in homes that can shelter us and with families and friends that we love. And maybe it is time we realise what a gift life is, and how little time we really have to waste. I need to use it wisely.
Oh well....... I need coffee. I will be back.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Voices from the past

Once, many moons ago, the then editor of Fair Lady (a well know magazine in South Africa),Jane Raphaely, wrote an article on the loneliness of the long distance mother. She wrote of groups of women meeting to show each other the latest photos and to share news of children and grandchildren around the world. So many of my generation left South Africa in the 70s 80s and 90s, that it was, and is, unusual for any family to be able to gather together at the same time. I was one of those children. Now we have come full circle, and I have a child of my own on the other side of the world, although she is only on a 2-3 year contract. Now I know how my own mother must have felt.
It is not a case of wanting to keep your child with you or of wanting to stop them from following their dreams at all. Both Andrew and Diana left home years ago to go to uni and have never really returned, but I could drop everything and see them when I wanted to, or if they needed me. As I have said before, I raised my children to fly, and I am so proud of them, but the reality of the sense of desolation is quite overwhelming at times and it surprised me. Thank heavens for cheap calls and webcams. And messenger and emails. I will just have to keep feeding the piggy bank...!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Why do we hide?

I have been reading A Purpose Driven Life, and one thought has stayed with me for the last few days more than any other. We have to be open and honest with our friends. We need to share what is going on in our hearts. I have caught myself answering the question "how are you?" with the normal response of "fine" far too often. There are times when I am anything but fine, and still I try to hide from the very people who genuinely care most about me, and who really do want to know what I am feeling or battling with. I think we all edit what we say. Why do we hide? Pride? Self-protection?Are we too afraid of appearing vulnerable? Of showing weakness? Too little time? Lack of trust? It seems so foolish to be self-protective when the people who love us are the ones who are most capable and ready to help. How can they help if they don't know what is wrong?

And then it works the other way as well. When a friend says he or she is "fine", I now stop and think far more about how hard it is to say we are not fine at all. And I try to ask the question that lets them know I really do want to listen. Ah well. This is a philosophical time for me.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Well, here goes..................

Good morning world! My daughter introduced me to blogs and after reading some, I am inspired to start one of my own. What a year this is turning out to be, with tsunamis, floods and fires. It seems distant until your family are in the midst of it. My sister and her husband live in Switzerland and their home was flooded. How is it possible for a mountain valley high up 1000m above sea level, with a deep gorge to the valley below to flood? It never occurred to me it was possible. I thought the water would just go downhill like out of a bath through the plug. But no. They are safe though and that is the most important thing.

That is one of my big things at the moment. People not possessions. People are what matter. Their safety, health and happiness. Maybe I am at the age where a lot of thought is going into what I have achieved in my life, and how it can be measured. I have not written the great novel of our time. I have not been the CEO of a fortune 500 company. I have not saved the world or discovered the cure for anything. I have not made pots of money nor have I graced the runways of the world in haute couture. Sigh. I have raised a family of three great children to adulthood (almost) and I have made a difference to a lot of people. I have taken care of aging parents, and along the way, I have acquired a wonderful circle of friends all round the world. I have a dream list of things to do before I die which grows daily, and I am excited to be alive.

My daughter is off to work in New Zealand (see diana's blog) for a few years. She is following her dreams, and as a mum, I am so proud to watch her fly.

Well, this was not quite as difficult as i anticipated. I have lots to talk about. Maybe tomorrow!