Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cooking in my own kitchen!

Nothing like cooking in your own kitchen!

In my opinion I have cooked the nicest meals in my own kitchen! I know where to find everything. I know the sizes of the pots that I have and which goes on which plate on the stove for optimal distribution of the heat. I know the heat settings on my stove and how much of it I need to prepare whatever is in the pot or pan. I know the utensils to my disposal for the ideas that are in my head and I (99 % of the time) achieve the desired outcome!

So why is this important – as the smell of pumpkin and fish lures me to the kitchen – I love vegetables and fish...

I have more recently had the opportunity to step into some other people’s kitchens. I don’t know if it has anything to do with having turned 30 a couple of years ago, or whether it had anything to do with whose kitchens it was, but I found myself having the strangest overdose of courage to just plunge in and try.

For the first time ever I had the courage to go for it regardless of my own (sometimes unreasonable) demand for perfection. Granted, not everything came out as it was supposed to, but some came out really nice and I couldn’t help but feel chuffed with myself.

The thing that just AMAZED me – I mean BLEW ME AWAY – was the courage that I felt for trying new things.

I’ve heard some people tell me about things that happen to you when you turn 30. How you move into a phase of your life when you start caring less about what others think of you and more about who you want to be and what you think of you. Your confidence levels increase and your zest for life and having new adventures, trying new things. Some people have compared it to the maturing process of good wine – how it gets better with time. One thing that has been said a lot about turning 30 is the new found liberty – the freedom to be anything you want to be.

Looking back over my life there are many things that I desired to have and achieve before 30. At one time it was sad to realize just how many things did not work out quite the way I had planned or hoped. But as I’m progressing to accepting what did not work out, I am also slowly but surely filled with hope of what can be and what is coming in this new place in my life. Maybe I was not quite ready for the things that I desired before thirty (I am a late bloomer). But now, who knows what it can be instead and how much more I am able to embrace and enjoy it.

I mean, getting your license at 18 is pretty awesome – the newly found freedom of movement is definitely something to be celebrated, but there is nothing like being behind the steering wheel of a powerful motor when you’ve got more experience under your belt and more confidence in how to handle the exhilaration of the freedom that you hold in your hand (and that you feel vibrating under your bum)! Sometimes starting out is great, but it is only a bit further down the line that you really start to appreciate what you’ve got and what it is worth to you, and that you often have the maturity to know what to do with it in a responsible way.

Yip, it is not the pulling away that matters most (even though no one should despise the day of small beginnings). How do you go anywhere if you don’t START SOMEWHERE? But it is the thrill of the journey!!!

Life is too short – it should be lived more fully, more often!!!!!!! (Full throttle instead of in reverse.)


I heard a story once of someone asking a cleaning lady at NASA what it was that she did exactly. Her reply: I help to put people on the moon.

What do you do?

I’ve been experiencing so much over the past few days that have caused me to really have a closer look at the past few years of my life. It has caused me to ask myself some serious, honest questions and it has caused me to rediscover some parts of myself that I have almost forgotten was there... that I’ve lost sight of, even though they are such VITAL things in my life. I feel like I’ve been paging through the scrapbook of my life. Some memories brought back the ‘rush’ I felt and the elation of feeling like I was SLAP BANG in the center of God’s plan and it was evident in everything I touched! Days before the bizarre and disillusioned part of the journey began. These have caused me to learn much, but is has also got me in such a flurry that I forgot some very important things about who I am. Somehow I feel like it is time to remember again...

What is the greatest desire of my heart? I want to help change people’s lives!!!!!! With ALL my heart! I just know that God has given me SO MUCH for a reason – a reason that will (and often has in the past) glorify Him – that is after all the only reason why we’re here. Whether you do it by being an Engineer, a millionaire, a lady in the soup kitchen, a pastor’s wife, a personal assistant, a manager, a CEO, a street sweeper.... How you do it is not important, but THAT you DO IT!

When I was 19 I went through a period of roughly two years where God was teaching me about leadership from His Word, and showed me it applied in real life. He gave me such a hunger for His Word and I couldn’t get enough of it. I believe that when God is in something it should bring forth life in some form. I was flourishing. Then I came to very crucial cross roads in my life and I chose the wrong path. There I was, 21 and feeling like my life was over. How was I supposed to go on? Where was I supposed to go? I felt very strongly that I needed to go back to the place I was before my disastrous decision. My reasoning with God was that I couldn’t possibly face those people again. All of them knew that I made the biggest mistake of my life! What part of that did He not understand?

However, every time I prayed about it, He gave me no different answer than the one He’s given from the start. He was relentless. Finally I decided to submit and go – on condition that He goes with me! (Imagine giving God such a condition – the one Who promises to NEVER leave us nor forsake us... – the things we do sometimes...)

I returned as I felt God had told me. God honored me and everything starting healing, growing, flourishing. I had another 3 years of intense training in God's idea of leadership and what life is really about if you desire to do it God's way. Just before my biggest mistake I had changed jobs and the area in which I lived. There were a lot of new things going on – the transition was very traumatic. But out of the ashes of every failure God was bringing new beauty.

God built very valuable character in me – something that NO ONE can ever take away! Still to this day it is one of the most cherished things about my life: the woman that God has made me, and IS STILL MAKING me!

I started at this job at 19 – a PA to the CEO. Within two years – and after an endless battle for an opportunity – I was given the opportunity to get involved with the company finances. No one taught me – I just seem to know instinctively – and before long I was promoted into a management position that was especially created for me – I was only 24!!!! Now THAT HAS TO BE GOD! WHAT AN HONOUR AND PRIVILEGE. I was able to make a bigger difference – I had more influence and I absolutely believe in influence through relationship – where people give you permission to speak and invest in their lives. One thing management is not, is status. It is an even greater responsibility to do greater things and it positions you to make sure you don’t fall behind in your personal growth, because you cannot give what you don’t have, and your team will never grow bigger than what you are. So (beyond getting the job done) what are you reaching for?!

The CEO took me under his wing and showed me everything about his business. I knew that God had put me there and He was giving me divine favor and I was learning and growing in a way that I could almost TOUCH!!! I would walk a million extra miles for this man, work till whatever hours of the morning, but I would achieve – successfully and with excellence – that which God has entrusted me with – not man. I loved every moment. I worked weekends because I wanted to, not because I had to. I loved the people that surrounded me and we worked so well as a team.

In time, however, change happened; as it always seems to do – the only consistent thing being change and all... – it was a new season and new challenges. The following five years were REALLY hard, but God taught me much – most of the progress was in my character – the invisible. Strange how you can feel such an amazing sense of going nowhere slowly while God is working in your character, preparing you for what He has in store. I was moving, but I didn’t feel it. I felt a lot of anger, frustration, sadness for the unfair treatment that were given to many an innocent person around me, including myself – these were people that I loved and cared about. I felt such passion for caring for them that I was almost permanently on the front lines, sleeves rolled up, fists clenched, fighting for what I believed in and the people that have been entrusted to me as a Manager. God had positioned and prepared me for battle.

More recently I’ve been pondering on why on earth I was able to stay for five difficult years? What on earth possessed me? And I’ve come to realize that the only thing that made it worthwhile for me was my love for the people. I knew that I was there for a purpose and I was called to touch many a life. I was not going to leave until God knew that the time was right to release me. But no matter how hard it was, I WAS TOUCHING PEOPLE’S LIVES!!!! That was more fulfilling that the hardship was hard.

I’m not so much bothered by what exactly God wants to do with my life. What will I be next..? What matters to me more is that I have an overwhelming desire to love and care for people – to make a difference for someone – to live bigger than one!! Lord, give me a platform to do something great for your glory.

I don’t understand how this desire can be so overwhelming on the inside of me. Why does God give it to me and yet He does not fulfill it (not yet anyway). How do you carry the ‘burden’ of a desire this big and have nowhere to go with it...? It must be something like what I’ve heard a woman say about wanting to have children; she said: “ I don’t understand how I can miss someone so much that I have never met.” Just, for me, it is not the longing for a baby, but for purpose, to be part of the miracle of changing lives for the good.

I think of that verse in Isaiah 55...This plan of mine is not what you would work out, neither are my thoughts the same as yours! For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than yours, and my thoughts than yours.


• To strive for excellence in everything I do!
• To use every gift and ability that God has enriched me with to live a life through which others will be inspired to reach inside themselves, recognize and bring to the surface their inner beauty, appreciate and enjoy the value of it; that they may learn to share the joy and beauty of their treasures with others around them, ultimately being complete and fulfilled in their existence.
• To be a sweet fragrance in the lives of those that cross my path that will be remembered long after I’ve gone from their lives.

Who knows what is next? I just want to make a difference, please Lord. Time is so precious...

Monday, December 28, 2009

Whatever you call it... FOLLOW it!!

I was under the false impression more than half of my life (at this stage) that if I could only please people, they would brand me ‘good enough’. And BOY! did I try my best... just to find that it was never enough, let alone good enough.

Fear reigned in my life, not faith. I ended up making the biggest mistake of my life because I did not have the courage to follow my own heart; trying to rather not disappoint people – people who didn’t truly care about my best interest anyway... (I discovered after the fact). They did care enough about themselves, though, to pitch for the party, the food and the gossip. At least some of them left some decent gifts.

Not too long afterwards things starting derailing in a VERY bad way. Where were all those people that I was trying to please at all cost? I was sorely disappointed to discover that they were nowhere to be found. Everyone wants to share the lime light at the wedding, but the marriage – the life after the occasion - ... well, that’s your ‘baby’. I’ve learnt one of the most prominent lessons in my life: don’t try to please other people – there will always be someone who don’t approve of something you do or believe or stand for – rather follow your own heart!

While I was at rock bottom I came across a book – a combination of short ‘stories’ (if you will) that contained some simplistic but divine truths about life – most of which the author had learnt on the path of her own life journey. One of the pieces struck me in particular and it has never left me. She wrote (and I try to say it as accurately as I can – it’s been quite a few years ago): “...some people call it gut, sixth sense, instinct, woman’s intuition... call it what you may,...” but she believes that it is that still Small Voice on the inside of us – Holy Spirit speaking to us and guiding us; warning us, comforting us, giving us wisdom. She spoke of how she had learnt to trust that voice and follow it because God knows where we’re going, and where we shouldn’t go – He knows the end from the beginning and we should heed that Voice.

I couldn’t help but break down in tears right there in the shop because I knew in that moment that I had been a people pleaser all my life and now I’ve caused myself endless pain – my heart and my life had been shattered because I did not have the courage to follow my own heart. I knew that I was making a grave mistake. I ended up paying very dearly.

Right there in the shop it was the cry of my heart that I would have the courage to start trusting that Voice and to follow it no matter what. More than anything I desired to get to where I’m supposed to be. So I started on a new journey – a new way of being and doing. Since then I’ve made decisions that no one approved of and that was some of the most successful moments of my life, and some of the decisions had a few cheerleaders, but they were not my drive force. I’ve learnt that on the other side of every decision there are consequences that no one has to deal with except you. There’s been times when people tried to push me in a direction that I just knew in my heart it was not the right time, and so I chose to stick to my guns and wait it out – and when I felt lead in my heart that the time was right... BOY did it work out just marvelous.

No man knows the blue print for another’s life journey – only God. He is the divine compass, and in the end, He is the divine Judge of all things.

A while back I encountered a very hurtful experience in my work environment – it lasted for a very long time. Eventually I was so disillusioned that I didn’t know who was right, who was wrong, who had which agenda and who cared most for what. I started doubting myself, became suspicious and eventually thought that I was missing it completely. I left rather broken and hopeless. But then, just two days ago, God gave me a special gift: one of the key players in the game in which I got hurt so badly, ended up in the same boat as I was in. In hindsight she was able to see truth from her perception at the time – that which drove her to deal with me the way she did. She was able to identify what the situation really was and everyone’s true colors started showing up once I was out of the picture. She came to realize just how out of hand the whole situation became and we were able to talk it through. God reminded me that even when I thought my whole world was coming apart, that which was in my heart was correct; I was on the right path, no matter how disillusioned I felt. I fought the good fight, and someone’s life is changed forever because of it.

I feel as if God restored my faith in my ability to hear from Him and that He is always in control, no matter what things may seem like to yourself, or even to everyone else! WOW, isn’t God amazing!

I most certainly don’t have it all together; I don’t know the future and I don’t have all the right answers, but I know the One Who do!

Sometimes all we have is to trust our gut and have the courage to get out of the boat when that is how we feel lead to do. Sometimes we just cannot predict the outcome of anything before we’ve even taken one step. Sometimes life is trial and error, but if you did not follow your heart, how will you ever know? Or will you forever wonder “what if?” Sometimes you have to live in the moment and enjoy the scenery that is outside of your window that very minute. You cannot imagine the picture perfect beauty of the spring flowers in Namaqualand when you’re still stuck in rush hour traffic in Jo’burg, on your way there... Sometimes you just have to travel and enjoy it when you get there.

There’s a fine line between peering into the future and living in the moment. But trying to live in the past or the future steals your moment – your present.

So here’s what I think: take note of the information boards along the journey so you may get to your destination and be sure to travel as safely and responsibly as you possibly can – do what is in your ability to do – but don’t be so focused on the destination that you miss the whole darn trip on the way there! Accept that you are NOT going to get it right every single time, but that’s ok. Just be sure to learn something from it. No one should suffer in vain.

Isaiah 30:21 And your ears will hear a word behind you saying, ‘This is the way, walk ye in it’, when you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left.

Failing to obey could – will – cause you to miss God’s plan. Abiding is obeying. Then blessing is not possible, but inevitable.

Proverbs 20:24 Since the Lord is directing our steps, why try to understand everything that happens along the way?

ALWAYS care what GOD thinks – His opinion is the most important one! Seek Him for it with all your heart! Then... whatever you call it... FOLLOW it!!

Seeds of promise (by Dawn Jones)

Paging through a botanical magazine last winter, I found myself marveling at the beautiful flowering trees and exotic plants pictured inside. In a moment of sheer inspiration, I decided it would be awesome to have more in my yard than one scruffy pine tree surrounded by a few faded wood chips. Whether impetus or impetuous, this surge of enthusiasm compelled me to order the "Jasmine flowering tree" so exquisitely displayed on page 5.

I was jazzed. In fact, I couldn't wait to get my plant.

Weeks after I had placed the order, however, my excitement was beginning to wane. "Where's my tree?" I wondered. "Spring will be over next week, and I still don't have an award-winning landscape!"

Finally, a package from California arrived. Staring blankly at the way-too-small parcel, I decided it must be the invoice or perhaps the all-important stakes needed to support my new tree. As I opened the little brown box, I simultaneously surveyed the area around me, looking to see where the rest of my delivery was hiding.

After carefully unveiling the mysterious arrival, I stared motionless into the shallow carton. Finally, in disbelief and agitation, I drew out a package of tiny, unimpressive seeds.

My initial excitement quickly dissipated. "You've got to be kidding me," I moaned. "They actually expect me to plant these dead flakes?" I simply could not imagine that I would have to WORK to obtain this tree.

Suddenly I came to a sobering realization: That's how many people would like to go through life—wanting results without doing the work, expecting a harvest without planting the seeds. Unfortunately in God's kingdom it doesn't work that way. In fact, most of what God accomplishes on Earth today starts in seed form.

When God wanted to send a deliverer to save mankind, He sent a seed and placed it in a plain human package. No wonder those who had so long awaited the coming of the Messiah were less than impressed to see an ordinary baby instead of a king.

And what about the teachings of this infant grown to full stature? He taught that the kingdom of God was like a seed which, when planted, would grow gradually: "first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head" (Mark 4:28, NASB).

In other words, Jesus told us that the dealings of God would almost always involve a maturing process. God gives us seedlings of promise that must be nurtured and cared for until they can stand tall like an oak tree.

So many times we get discouraged when we don't see quick results from our labors. We may even become so frustrated that we are tempted to stop and quit. But God's Word helps us remember this principle: The plantings of the Lord begin in seed form.

In Old Testament times when Zerubbabel was rebuilding the temple, people laughed and scoffed as they compared the fledgling work to the majesty of the original built by Solomon. But through a messenger the Lord sent reassurance: "Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin" (Zech. 4:10, NLT).

Right now you may have a beautiful picture in your heart of what you long for. You may even have dared to ask God for great things and have sensed His promise to you of success.

But when you opened your hands to receive, all you found was seeds—small, unimpressive conceptions. Don't be discouraged! Remember that seeds contain life and have within them the very essence of your promise. If you plant them in good soil and invest yourself in the nurture and development of them, they will grow and bloom forth with fruit.

Today, hear the Holy Spirit whisper to you, "Do not despise the day of small beginnings, for I delight to see the work begin." Plant your faith, my friend, and watch and see what God will do.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Communication connects us to love...

Communication is so vital. Without it, it is impossible to have relationships.

For the first time in my life I really love someone. We have not communicated very well and it has caused quite a bit of upset, hurt and sadness.

Why do we seem to be of the opinion that we can read another person’s mind? Where do we get the notion that someone else can read ours? Or do we not communicate out of fear?

I think it is the often out of fear. We are afraid that if we communicate about ourselves that we’ll lose the person that matters to us. The only problem is that if we DON’T communicate we open ourselves up to the risk of losing the very thing that we think we’re guarding.

Our imagination can be a very powerful thing, but it can work against us in a very big way. When we don’t communicate we leave each other to the imagination. Unspoken concerns usually breed in the dark. The best way to resolve things is to bring it out in the open.

My relationship is still fairly new. Some things I didn’t communicate because I thought the relationship was still too new for certain discussions. Circumstance has, however, indicated that some of those things now need to be discussed.

I really pray that God will give me wisdom in how to say it without saying too much, the wisdom to really listen with my heart and He will prepare the soil so that when we communicate it will be from a heart of love, which I know we both feel for each other.

It feels like a bird with a hurt wing. It is vulnerable and sensitive right now, but I pray that it will mend and mend well, and that this beautiful bird will fly again!!

I love you, my sweetheart; with all my heart!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Daybreak: the expectation of a new day

I was up at 5 this morning. I just couldn’t manage to fall asleep again.
I spent some time with God and then decided to go for a ride on my bike – I rode 25k’s – quite the achievement for me – I usually ride for an hour and do an average of 15 odd kilometers. It was refreshing being out with my bike that early this morning. I don’t usually do mornings (ha-ha).

In some ways I feel pregnant with the expectation of what this day holds. I hope for good things. However, there is a small part of me that is afraid to be disappointed. What if today delivers nothing spectacular? I suppose this is when one say, “this is the day that the Lord has made; I WILL rejoice and be glad in it!” Just like loving is a choice, we also choose how happy we are.

This morning my heart is grateful that I have legs to peddle my bike, eyes to see the earth move underneath me, that I can smell the fresh air, feel the sun on my face and the cool breeze on my skin. My heart beats spontaneously, pumping the blood through my veins and my lungs don’t ask permission to breath. My hands control the steering and the breaks without even thinking twice and my ears behold a symphony of early morning bird song! I am healthy and every muscle and sense functions perfectly. How wonderfully I was made!! I have much to be grateful for!

Many things are nice to have, but it is often in the wonder of the simple moments and things that we share that we discover the treasures of most worth!

I choose to go into this day with expectation. God’s Word says that His eyes search the earth to find someone on whose behalf He can show himself strong (2 Chron 16:9). Lord, CHOOSE ME TODAY!!

Lead me where you want me to be, when you want me to be there. Give me unmerited favour and work on my behalf.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Recipies - a meal for my soul

SJOE! I had some visitors tonight and BOY! – did I enjoy being with them! Talking, laughing and just enjoying each other’s company. It is so powerful what God’s Word says: For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them (2 Tim 1:7).

I love people – I love being with them. I might not be the world’s best hostess, slaving away in the kitchen, but I’m good at enjoying my guests. I love the fellowship, interacting, catching up, laughing together, etc. I can always learn about being better in the kitchen, but no stove can fully prepare a meal for the soul. I don’t want people to merely leave with a full tummy, but a full heart! They must feel blessed for having visited, and I must feel blessed for having had them over.

The recipe for human fulfillment is not found in any recipe book. It is in love and loving! It is true what Jesus says that it is more blessed to give than to receive. I feel emotionally satisfied for having been able to enjoy my guests.

I really love people. It makes my heart beat faster to make a difference. It makes me realize that I’ve been given A LOT! I love to see someone’s face light up whenever something that God’s given me overflows to touch the heart of another. WOW! It reminds me of what life is really about. It reminds me how we were indeed created in God’s image. He IS love and created us for relationship.
Isn’t God amazing!

I think a teachable spirit is of immeasurable value to God – Lord, never let me stop learning – teach me Your perspective of what is really important, and help me to use whatever you bless me with as a means to fulfill a purpose with eternal value: I want to touch people’s lives for Your glory!

My guests have gone, and I feel like I’ve had a huge steak; a meal fit for a king... yet we only had coffee, laughter and chat!

I feel like I have a reason to live again. Someone (by my understanding) insinuated that I don’t have ambition. It made me feel very low – I most certainly disagree! Tonight I got a renewed glimpse of myself – my heart beat faster and I loved every moment! I feel elated - I feel alive!

I was reminded again that I’ve got a lot to offer! I'm fulfilled whenever I get to share it with others. I’m definitely going to bed satisfied and grateful!

I HAVE been given A LOT! Thank you, Lord!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

What defines you?

A year ago someone wanted me to join them in going to London (Europe). It didn’t take me long to realize that I was merely the butter to the other side of the bread. However, in my quest for answers in order to make this huge decision I discovered a few things about myself, as usual. Never empty handed, right?

One of the fears in my heart was that I would die if I didn’t have a job. If I didn’t have the mundane nine-to-fiver, fulfilling the pedantic requirements of a slave-driving boss, then I was a little nobody; or so I thought or feared. A year later God is teaching me that my job does not define me.

Ten years ago God taught me that money does not define me either (even though it is good –and VERY nice to have it).

During the past few months God has been teaching me what should define me. He has been moving me to let go of many things that I thought to be my identity. I’m happy to report that I’m loving what I’m discovering, but I’m challenged for how others still define me.

I used to be married to a wealthy man and we were in the financial position to do a lot of things, have many adventures and it was truly living the good life for me; a lady of leisure. Then things changed and I was no longer able to afford those luxuaries that some call “living life”. I had to redefine myself. Does that mean that I no longer enjoy those things? By all means: NO! I just haven’t been able to afford them for quite some time.

Do people actually evaluate who you are by the life you’re financially able to live; that if you don’t have my kind of money then you’re not worthy, but rather a gold digger? My heart is sad because I know the character that God has built in me w.r.t. money. How can someone draw such conclusions?

But then again, I shouldn’t be defined by people either, should I?

I heard a song today of which the lyrics touched me: if we are the Body then why are the hands not reaching out, the arms not holding, the feet not going...? I think that love is what should define us: in the way we care about people, share of ourselves, manage our money (of which we're merely stuarts for God anyway) - in every way that we conduct our lives... Everything else is merely the instruments with which the orchestra of love is conducted.

My heart is to make beautiful music; sing a beautiful song!

What defines you?