Monday, December 6, 2010

Happy Birthday to me

Ah! What a wonderful birthday weekend! *5-12-10

We stayed up on Saturday and when 12 hit the clock my darling husband gave me my fabulous gifts! Now I couldn't wait until morning to show them off :-)

Morning came and we headed to church. Thereafter, Rog treated me to a lovely lunch.

We took a spontaneous drive to the Zoo, where we've never been to together. It was lovely! Walking around hand-in-hand, gazing at God's creations - perfect.

Darryl and I at the Zoo

It really made me appreciate God so much more.

I thank Him for my life. I thank Him for the family he had chosen to raise me. I thank Him for the years of education I have. I thank Him for the husband He has given me. I thank Him for our home. I thank Him for my career. I thank Him for our future. I thank Him for the children we will have. I thank Him for his grace.

Happy Birthday to me, Thank You Daddy God.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I SPY PRETTY: New Ways With Old Suitcases

Oh I love all things vintage! So when I saw the word in the cutest blog ever "I SPY PRETTY", I knew it would be good! And it was, have a look.

I SPY PRETTY: New Ways With Old Suitcases: "I love anything vintage..especially vintage suitcases. Here are a few fabulous ways to showcase them in different ways. Makes you want to g..."

My home is undergoing a bit of a metamorphasis so I'm excited to work this look!

A Rose on your Wedding Day

Eight months ago I got married.

The thrill of wedding planning is amazing! It's fun, frustrating but fabulous! Especially fabulous when you have good people to help make your day. Of the countless faces that helped me, are three beauties - my bridesmaids.

Eight months later, my Maid of Honour and cousin is planning her special day. Cherrie Diedricks, on your wedding day you will truly become a Rose.

*Selwyn Rose, even I had a use for you!

The oldest fossil of a rose dates back more than 35 million years! How fitting, then, that this should be the symbol of everlasting love.

Che, you too, proved yourself popular and likeable to all who meet you - like this, the most popular flower worldwide. The rose, beautiful in all it's colours, is just like you. A true beauty whether in jeans and pumps or heals and LBD.

So my message to you, comes from every colour of the rose:

I wish you many red roses, a symbol of courage and respect.

On your day I wish you all the white you can imagine, in honour of the secrecy, loyalty, reverence, purity and humility of your marriage.

May your journey together bring you yellow roses too - joy and deep friendship, knowing trials and tribulation you will face on this ride.

I pray for many pink roses, new loves, as you become a mother one day.

May your love stay like a purple rose, magical. 

And lastly, always aim for Blue - what the books call impossible.  

I am so excited for you! I've experience marriage to be spectacular. With someone at your side, your strength is doubled, your weakness halved. And your life, an adventure.

Happy planning. I don't mind listening to you change your mind on colours or venues and themes a few times, and I certainly don't mind seeing you smile.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Karibuni Kenya!

A few Masai men at the Nairobi National Game Park
  Got back from Kenya yesterday – the longest trip away from the hubster and it was so difficult! I had been to Zambia for five days before, without communication and THAT was something else, though he wasn't the hubby yet... Amazing how out-of-sync you are when you are not around loved ones or, just not at home. Peace for your soul really is at home.
T’was quite an experience – nine days in Kenya, where I had never been before - neither my two colleagues.
Throughout our trip, our Kenyan friend sang ‘I am safe… in the shadow of Your wings…’ and that’s our testimony. Every fear we had regarding potentially dangerous ventures during the trip was washed away by the truth that I am always safe in the shadow of Jesus’ wings.
When we first arrived we were taken to Nakuru – the fourth largest town of Kenya. There we spent five nights working on stories in the Displaced People’s Camp. These people have been displaced for over two years now and they’re waiting on the government to allocate land to them. Most of them have no source of income while some breed chicken for eggs and food, and a half-decent income. Others make (from paper!) and sell jewellery, sell coal, make clothes… anything!

Jewellery made by ladies in the camp
It was boiling while shooting! The first day out shooting I felt close to collapsing – thought I’d smack on the sunscreen and wear a vest the next day but that resulted in a multi-coloured back!
Each day we’d drive about thirty kilometers into the camp to return to our hotel late afternoon. The hotel was noisy at night, people up and down the streets, but under my mosquito net I was safe.
The food at the hotel was decent. In fact, the first night it was great, but the service deterred thereafter. Food in the town was worse though, we found one place I liked – where I had to pay in dollars because I had run out of Kenyan Shillings! ;-) The Shilling is weird to handle, R100 roughly equals KSh1000 so our minds had to be tuned a little.

On day four we visited another area, Ewaso Kedong – about four hours drive from Nakuru because the roads are so bad. There we met the Masai community. This experience was great! We’re always amazed by their stretched earlobes and the fact that they jump really high but they are more elegant than you’d imagine. They served us lunch: pap, beef and morogo. The latter was a first for me, and I admit – a last, it really wasn’t my thing. Our host brought around a dish and soap and poured clean water on our dusty hands in preparation for our meal. They let us, their guests, eat first. When we had our fill, they ate. Elegant.

The Masai we met at Ewaso
They really are not rich, some own cattle – to sell in the market and live off the income, and others own just two goats. Their houses are small and dark, their ‘windows’ are little holes in the wall, big enough to peep through but small enough to keep the cold out. Oddly, a lion would come into their land and kill a sheep. Beyond the hurdles, they’re satisfied. The Masai, at least those we met, have a remarkable appreciation for life: they live day-to-day but without worry. They get up in the morning, put on their best, jewellery included, and face the world smiling – and jumping! We could learn from that.
On day five we journeyed to Nairobi, where our trip would conclude. We headed to our hotel, in the city’s centre. I said Nakuru was busy – I hadn’t been to Nairobi yet! The hustle and bustle of the city never dies down – at night I would check if my windows really were closed because the noise streamed in!

View from hotel

On Saturday we had important interviews that could have turned dangerous but within a couple of hours, we were through! Then we spent some time on the streets of Nairobi, shops are always stocked and business apparently booming. We even came across Debonairs and Steers – I smiled… then I ate ;-)
We visited the ‘Masai market’ in the city, where you’ll find Kenya tokens to take home. My eyes feasted on all the colours!
On Sunday we went to church on the outskirts of Nairobi. It was a poor, broken area but church was amazing – it was there that I stopped missing home for a bit. Praise and worship reminded me of home, we tore the place down with praise!
Monday, aaah – our last day in Kenya. Of course, I was excited – soon I’d be home, but also because it’s Safari day! We spent the day at Nairobi Game Park – the only park within a city! It was awesome – picture a giraffe, with the backdrop of high-rise buildings, a unique jewel of Kenya.
Hardly fifteen minutes into the park, we came across three lions chasing a buck. They missed – but we scored! We followed them for some distance, modeling along the road – beautiful! Giraffe, zebra, buffalo, rhino, etc. etc. etc. and three more hunting lions! What a day…

Second group of lions hunting
But what a TRIP! Some places shiny, some places broken and forgotten but a place to see for yourself. I had always said I’d like to travel Africa, and so the journey begins.
But now, my soul has peace – at home.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

More of Mary

While sifting through some old work, I came across a story of a woman named Mary.

Mary lives in Kenya and runs two successful businesses in her rural town. Apparently, she puts the lazy to shame because she is so Busy.

This got me thinking about Mary and Martha. Of course, the industrious Kenyan Mary should have been named Martha!

Google led me to another blog (" \o "Permanent Link to When Life Is Busy)

We get so busy that we forget God!

Geez, the read was so enlightening:

“…Sit still, be quiet, let your mind go quiet, and then meditate on God’s Word or seek Him for what He would have you do right now.”

I sat still and pondered. Suddenly I thought “Nastassja, you spend way too much time on facebook (exhibit A) – you could be spending time with God”.

And that’s what I’m thinking now. We spend so much time on frivolous things, yet we toss the most significant aside; spending time... Time with family, time with friends. But mostly, time with God.

I need more Mary in me. You?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Be Inspired: It's a New Season

I’m inspired.

Forever, so many ideas run wild in my head – so wild that I can’t control it. “I want to do this”, “I’m going to do that” – then a season like this one comes along; where I’m completely inspired to go ahead and focus on certain goals. I love it!

Maybe it’s the physical change of season (Spring time!). Maybe it’s a spiritual season. As Israel Houghton and New Breed sing:

“It's a new season, it's a new day.
A fresh anointing is flowing my way.
It's a season of power and prosperity.
It's a new season coming to me!”

I’m going to grab onto this, my season - my inspiration!

All amped up and full of creativity: this week I ended up re-arranging the furniture, lighting lamps and changing the colour palette of our living room. I just have to do something when I feel this way!

So... there’s something I’ve always wanted to get my foot into --- my silent prayer --- I’m not going to tell you just yet! But I’m putting myself out there, I’m going to try. If you don’t try, the possibility of succeeding is non-existent, not?

The likelihood (of this silent prayer) is, well, unlikely - but that’s Faith. No matter how small I am in this massive mind of ideas, I’m going for it! Faith without works is dead, darlings!

Hold on a sec…

Oooh! An email just came in – oh how appropriate: Today’s French word by Wordsmith: fait accompli

plural faits accomplis (fay-zuh-kom-PLEE, fay-ta-kom-PLEEZ)

noun: A thing accomplished: a done deal.

A thing accomplished: a done deal.

My silent prayer is fait accompli, by faith!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Vintage for the Mod

Facebook is amazing. Facebook clothed me! I found vintage at Facebook! About two years ago - before the addiction – I use to log onto Facebook just curiously. In my element, I noticed many of my 'friends' commenting randomly on a group’s pictures: “R93”, “R100”, “101 for the blouse”.

Blouse? R101? Where!?

My curiousity led me to Lost & Found, a Facebook group with gorgeous Vintage finds to bid for! This was exciting: one, it’s Vintage darling; two, it’s competition – cough – I mean, I'd like to bid.  

Amy, its creator, started the group for *drum roll* “the wearers of art, the devotees of movable beauty, the appreciators of the inimitable, the lovers of vintage, the raiders of cupboards, the treasure hunters”.

She is the treasure hunter for us, “the lovers of vintage” – and I love it!

Amy gathers vintage and second hand pieces, takes breathtakingly beautiful pictures, puts them up, sets a bidding date. Go! I joined in – by cut off time, I had tallied up my score and… geez, these girls are beasts – nothing!? Next time! Next time!

And Next time came, I gathered my 10-or-so goods after the bid and it felt fabulous! Skirts, dresses, shirts, you name it. Amy delivered it to me at work (that’s the other plus of Lost & Found: she really wants you to be happy) and… (no boss here?) I tried everything on - in the ladies. I couldn’t wait.

I’ve taken part in bids ever since. Just recently I got a lace dress, and quirky polka dot cocktail dress. Bags, belts, scarves are often up for bidding too. There's even a men's section. :-) 

The incredible thing is, it’s one of a kind – it’s Vintage baby.

Trends are tricky. What’s in today was probably Hot! before, and will make a comeback. So, if you’re a sucker for trends (personally, I prefer style because it’s ageless) Vintage is for you too. There’s the beauty in fashion: it forever evolves, but remains the same.

Aah, Facebook is amazing. Lost & Found is amazing.

Jacket at Lost & Found probably under R100

Dress at Lost & Found, less than R120

Skirt from Lost & Found for about R100
 Get your Vintage on

Monday, August 23, 2010

Love: Forgiveness for even the Ugly

Picture the ideal man – sincere, loving and kind (heart-stopping-smile included). What’s more, he helps to rebuild broken societies through HIV/AIDS care, self-sustainability and gender equality programs.

His name is *Sizwe and unlike many of us, he hasn’t remained stagnant is the fight for humanity. I met him for an interview last year. His face, and real name, was splattered onto the pages of many newspapers and I picked up on it via a BBC report. Now I sat down with him to hear his story for myself.

“I love [to] see people changing; [to] see a bit of development in our under-resourced communities.” He’s been working with people for twenty years, but it was during one workshop that his own life changed.

My imagination takes me into the room: men proudly boast about their place in society and how they can take what they want from any woman without question.

Sizwe says he had heard these stories over and over again, and that made him go back to his own past. Almost thirty years back: he had raped a girl as a teenage boy.

He was the outcast: the boy who did his homework and went to church with his parents. He wasn’t man enough. So his ‘friends’ decided he would be accepted into manhood if he raped a girl.

“I was terrified. The date was now set, that at 4 o’clock on a Saturday this is going to happen.”

This story was tough. One, because the distaste I had couldn’t be masked.

He looks down, still hanging his head in shame. He mumbles that they (the boys) saw he was scared, and gave him alcohol and marijuana. Then they disappeared and Sizwe was left, waiting for the target.

“[One of the boys stayed and] he pulled her down and started raping her and then said ‘it’s your turn’.”

Sizwe completed his task that day, brushed off the guilt and lived his life.

Yes, this story was tough. Two: because it’s in our nature to distrust – I had to fine-tune my sensors – was he sorry?

He decided that he needed to ask the girl, now probably a grown woman with children, for her forgiveness – even if it meant his admittance could take him to jail.

“That would be justice for her, but I have to admit it and apologise.”

So Sizwe journeyed back to his home village and did just that.

“She just looked at me and started crying; I just stood there and let her cry.” He listened to find out that she had been raped and abused ever since he raped her first.

“I felt terrible. I immediately thought of how I lived my life for nearly thirty years and it never bothered me. I would just go about my business, my normal days and yet there was someone who was suffering in those years because of my actions.”

“I then was on a new journey – how do I forgive myself?”

That’s what nobody has asked him before, and that’s what I could find out...

His head is held higher than before. Suddenly there is life in his body and his eyes have joined our conversation. I can tell that he has forgiven himself. In fact, Sizwe says he was tested in a way he never imagined. He’s own daughter was raped.

“I had to learn to forgive that man when I looked into all of this, trying to understand what it means to love even your enemy.”

He leans forward and continues, “It’s a concept that I just read but I think it is a big challenge for humanity today to understand love. I learnt that you need something more. You don’t just need psychology to help you to forgive that way.”

That’s what I could find out – how do you forgive yourself?

You need God”, he says.

Once you understand this, he urges, a second chance awaits you.

Romans 8:1 - “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ.”

*name changed
Watch the Turning Point programme for this true story

Friday, August 20, 2010

Under Her Skin: Sandra Laing

The film, Skin, has tugged on the heartstrings of many South Africans. I had the privilege of sitting down with Sandra Laing, on whom the film is based and she let me get under her skin.

For Sandra, looking to the future has been her only motivation all her life. As the movie details, Sandra was born black – to white parents. Rewind back to the sixties, this was unheard of and a dramatic scandal! It also fuelled Sandra’s torture. “I wasn’t happy”, she says.

She’s quiet and withdrawn – her experiences made her this way – or she is a strong enough woman to have let it go.

She lets me know that though in a world of black and white, she has had good moments. “I was happier with black children: my friends were black [while] their mother worked in our kitchen,”

Of course, her father wasn’t happy with this. He wanted to have an ideal white family. White mother + white father = white child, right? Not in her case – as a result of black ancestry that had been dormant for generations, she was black.

Knowing what havoc this caused, a pre-teen Sandra put all sorts of chemicals onto her hair and face – this image from the film had me so disturbed. Society injects the idea of ‘ideal’ into little minds so badly?!

For many Sandra’s, such rejection ‘confirms’ that they don’t belong. And the line between this and that is drawn.

I’m glad that we’ve started moving away from this attitude but, sadly – there will always be prejudice. I think the key is your determination to reshape your own future. Like Sandra: she has forgiven, she has moved on, and she continues to try and “get on with [her] life”.

We can certainly look at our own circumstance through these eyes.

Watch the Turing Point programme for Sandra’s story.

Must-Have Items, and Attitude

I was tormented a few days ago! Imagine a dozen options of the WORLD’S best clothes. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration but it wasn’t easy. I had the need (and budget!) for only three items heading into Spring and this is what I’ve finally chosen from the latest of Pure.

Understated but oh so sexy Aladdin Pants. It’s in a delicate material and lets you breathe, can be worn as part of a dressy ensemble or dressed down for a day at the shops. When I tried it on, I paired it with an awesome pair of black gladiator sandals (Love Love Love) and tank top – I also looked at it with a frilly blouse tucked in and he gave me that look so trust me, it works! Having it in black is an added bonus since we can do anything with black.

Then I tried out a pair of beige tights in a soft fabric. Once I pulled it up, it was sold!

Just a touch of it and I felt very diva. I added a just-above-the-knee linen top (both, in picture), thin belt and flat strappy sandals and voila! Spring Weekends suddenly seemed nearer. You could do a strappy sandal or wedge too if you’d like to take this look to the movies.

Choosing my final item nearly depressed me but nothing like a quick budget check to sober me up!

It came down to either a blue stretch cotton dress or cream velvet, very seductive wrap dress. When the seller said “I sleep in mine” (referring to the cute blue), that idea was scrapped!

I juggled the idea of a lavish velvet dress around a bit and thought it may be too much and then the lady in me said every woman needs a dress that makes her look like she owns the world, without looking like you’re headed to prom. So I kept this one, and kept it on – it felt great.

So that became my theme – How does it feel? I had a dozen hot items in front of me and I tried them all (really) but the ones I kept were those I felt completely comfortable in. I realized, you can buy every trend out there but true class exudes from the confidence with which you wear it.

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