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The Fat Spat

WARNING: Not to be read by the faint hearted or easily offended.

This past week travelling home on the train, I landed up sitting with three rather large Afrikaans men. Decent enough to be classified as gentlemen and not overly in your face, which is not something one wants on a busy stuffy train, late in the afternoon. What really got me though, was that all three of these men had those large bellies that hung heavily into their laps, uncomfortably so. To me they were large boeps. Exceedingly off-putting.

As a woman I have to say, I love it when my man is in good shape, toned and taking care of himself. It really is important and it’s also important for that chemistry that plays such a critical part in intimacy.

I know this might be a difficult message and probably not the first time you have heard this, but I’m just going to put it out there. If you are not looking after yourself; if your partner, husband or wife (ladies we are certainly not off the hook here either) does not find you attractive in whatever way; if you are not exercising; if you are not paying attention to your body and what it needs to sustain a healthy life, then we can consider ourselves selfish, lost to bodily greed.

I’m not saying we have to be super models, sleek, slim and with a six pack – although that would be amazing! Carrying belly fat is a risky business and can lead to many medical emergencies and life long financially draining chronic conditions. Remember, belly fat does not only refer to what one can see and feel on the outside, it goes much deeper, to a level called visceral fat. It’s the fat that surrounds your organs and can eventually suffocate and strangle you from the inside out. In essence you become your own murderer. Guilty of homicide.

Not only does one become a burden on society but more so a burden on one’s family. This in itself places unnecessary pressure and stress on the ones that truly love you.

So let’s be honest with ourselves – we should know ourselves well enough to know whether we are where we should be or not. Trust me, there is no judgement here. I often find myself slipping and it’s really hard work getting back to that before place. It takes so much effort, sweat and often tears. We rationalise ourselves into thinking that tomorrow is the answer. Tomorrow will sort everything out. Tomorrow I will eat better, exercise harder. Sound familiar?

And this is where I have to say that I absolutley love the Nike branding:

Just do it!

So how do we do it? Try use these simple tips:

  1. Stop making excuses.
  2. Stop procrastinating. Just get out there.
  3. Eat a healthy diet. And no, healthy does not mean convincing yourself that a salad and a coke go together, all in perfect balance. It’s ok sometimes to have a treat, without feeling guilty.
  4. Exercise – that’s a given. It doesn’t have to be marathons, just something daily like taking the stairs instead of the elevator!
  5. Keep portion checks in size. Our eyes are often way too big for our stomachs. Your stomach is only as big as your closed fist, so keep that as a measurement guide.
  6. Stay away from sugary drinks and excessive alcohol. Limit these to special occasions, again without feeling guilty!
  7. Be accountable to someone other than yourself. It helps having someone who can keep you on the straight and narrow, provide a little motivation and discipline, and joins you in your quest to be healthier.

Well that’s what they say – whoever they are. It takes time and commitment. But then again, what doesn’t? No one said life would be easy and no one has ever been given a manual for life, other than the Bible. No point in thinking about it any longer. Make the decision and do it today!

Wedding vows

After contemplating and reflecting on this past week and what I’ve learnt, I kept coming back to what my husband and I promised each other on our wedding day. Maybe it’s because this month we will be celebrating our second wedding anniversary, a cotton anniversary, or maybe it’s because we’ve had to work through a number of challenging things of late.

Whatever it may be, today I wish to share what my husband and I promised to each other. I am sure we have all heard and read of many different vows, some truly traditional, some deeply emotional and some modernised specifically for the characters joining together as one. However, despite how it is said they all take on a very sincere and solemn approach that should not be taken lightly.

And so, after the pledges and the ‘I do’s‘ were made before God and our guests of honour (family and friends), our vows went like this:

I take you to be mine, loving you now and as you grow into all that God intends. I will love you when we are together and when we are apart; when our lives are at peace and when they are in turmoil; when I am proud of you and when I am disappointed in you; in times of rest and in times of work. I will honour your goals and dreams and help you to fulfill them. I say these things believing that God will be with us through it all.

And then we gave our rings to each other:

I give you this ring as a symbol of our marriage. With my body I honour you, all that I am I give to you, and all that I have I share with you with the help and guidance of our Lord and Saviour.

To this day, I still feel the intensity of what we promised. Not as a weight that bears heavily on my shoulders, but as a beautiful way of life, shared with the very one that will be a witness to my life.

I clearly remember having a little difficulty placing the ring on my husband’s finger, struggling to get it past his knuckle. We knew full well it fit perfectly. I guess while still trying to remember and repeat the vows after our pastor, and push the ring on, knowing everyone was watching, it was just too much and something had to give. We did. We all laughed.

I guess marriage can be a scary concept. It can cramp your style and challenge everything you ever thought was right or wrong. Plans sometimes go as scheduled and sometimes not. Words are sometimes used in jest to mask revealing that one part you want to retaliate on. Sometimes the ring fits snug and sometimes it’s easier to leave it off. But marriage is not the easy road.

It is the road less traveled, an adventure that requires two committed hearts, determined to honour the other. And when the foundation is securely laid and the promises are made, we enter into a supernatural realm and in essence stand on holy ground. That should be honoured. For there is nothing that comes close to being married and sharing your life with another human being, as they change and grow and become.

Do you remember your solemn vows made? Have you kept them true and honest?

Performance anxiety

This past week was one of my worst when it comes to stress. I dont know about you, but for me I am driven to succeed in many things. And to succeed, it generally requires top notch performance in all aspects. That I can do and work towards, but the problem is when I’m being watched. Especially for practical components. I actually feel those eyes boring into me and in that moment I lose all grounding; my heart literally goes into panic mode and feels as though it is beating outside my chest; the communication signals from my brain to my hands are severed; my hands become instantly clammy and useless.

When I look at a normal stress day for me, this is kind-of the pattern of what it looks like:

Overall stress level is generally well below the 25 mark and according to Garmin that is a good state of rest, well managed with a pretty constant heart rate.

According to the Garmin algorithms:

  • 0-25 is considered a state of rest
  • 26-50 is considered a state of low stress
  • 51-75 is considered a state of medium stress
  • 76-100 is considered a state of high stress

So why I am sharing this?

Well, this past week was my RPAS practical component. In aviation terminology it is known as a remote pilot aircraft system. In layman’s terms, it is known as a drone.

There are certain legal requirements to attain accreditation by the Civil Aviation Authority. What I didn’t know was that in order to get accredited the drone is required to be flown in Atti-mode (attitude mode named quite appropriately), which means there is no GPS lock for stability and positioning purposes. Any slight breeze or wind will affect the actual position of the drone, causing it to move in direction with the wind, totally out of sync for your specific maneuver that needs to be completed within specified criteria. Orientation becomes critical.

So just to give you an idea of what my body went though, this is what my stress levels looked like this past week…

Monday: Practice

Tuesday: Practice

Wednesday: Practice

(Funny enough on this day I actually mastered most the moves without much wind effect. I felt good afterwards but still maintained high stress levels. You can even see the nice blue lines during my sleep on the right hand side).

Thursday: Practice

Friday: Recommendation for final skills test

Saturday: Final skills test

This was the final skills test day. With only 11 minutes of flight time, stress was very high but at least short lived. I mean just look at how nicely I slept (throughout the afternoon and later that night). My husband even said I had a new snore that sounded like a burp – I called it a snorby – that’s how deep I slept.

Stress is an amazing thing. And sometimes we can’t predict how our bodies will react in certain circumstances, but we can understand how and why and try to manage that, as best we can.

As you have seen, performance anxiety for me is very real and something I need to do a lot of self-talk around, including simple things like wiggling my toes to help ground myself back into reality and bring the focus back. Chewing gum I hear is also an option.

The good news though, is that all this high level stress has actually paid off and I am officially a qualified drone pilot! Ok it sounds pathetic, but hey – look what I went though to get it! Surely that counts for something!

The wisdom of the Oracle

The Oracle! Appropriately named by a friend. Consulting the Oracle is free and sometimes overwhelming but certainly helpful at times.

Just in case you have no idea what I am referring to, its Dr. GOOGLE (AKA the internet).

So let’s consider the Lotto and lottery winners. The Oracle has some interesting facts:

  • Approximately 70% of lottery winners blow their winnings within a few years (we dont hear about the other 30%)
  • At the same time those that won larger amounts seemed to retain it much longer (which really makes sense because there is so much more to spend so maybe these ones belong in the 30% group)
  • It doesn’t change overall happiness
  • It does however, change overall satisfaction
  • Some lose it all
  • Some go dilly
  • Some believe what they read
  • Other’s question!

I think the Oracle is confused or just very opinionated on a number of different facets. So you’re probably wondering why I brought this topic up. Well, a lot of my travelling to and from work is on our public train system. Funny enough, one of the things that is working in our country.

This past week on the train, I was sitting next to two Afrikaans gentlemen who started to talk about bank integration on app and web applications that allowed instant Lotto purchases and winnings post the draw.

Obviously the famous question came up:

What would you do with the money? And what would you do if you only had tomorrow left to spend it?

While I was seriously thinking long and hard about it, sure enough, the two men started talking about the latest cars and motorbikes, how cool it would be to have the latest speedster, that cruiser, to have heads turn just to notice. Don’t get me wrong, as lovely as that would be, I found myself digging a little deeper than on the materialistic layer. It didn’t take me long, but I decided what I wanted and shared my thoughts. It really was simple:

I want to buy a large plot in the Drakensburg or in a small town my husband and I love so much, a place called Clarens. Then build a beautiful B&B, prefarably off grid, have the most amazing coffee brewed at all hours, include some really cool outdoor activities (and some other potential options I would love to explore), a droning wonderland, and manage and live this life. That’s what I would want.

No, I’m not that person that would give all the money to a charity or welfare organisation. Given the state that South Africa is in and the amazing criminal leadership role models we have, it just wouldn’t seem fair for me to simply give my money into those grabing hands that take for their own good and greed. My contribution to our country would be to build and manage a home, a place of peace, a place of relaxation, a place where nature is respected, restored and worked with. A place where our children can run free through fields unspoilt by man. What more could one ask for?! That’s what I would want and where I would want to retire. Doing what my husband and I both love.

And there you have it, but of course I have to ask the question right back at you!

What would you do with the money? And what would you do if you only had tomorrow left to spend it?

I would love to hear your ideas!

Strange conversations

Over this weekend I woke up to my husband bringing me lemon juice. Certainly nothing out of the ordinary but he leans over to whisper in my ear:

Good morning beautiful!

I listen in silence, while I acknowledge that beautiful moment and want to express it back in ways we both understand. You know, our own love language so to speak. And so the exchange continues as follows:

Me: Happy birthday.

Hubby: Happy anniversary.

Me: Happy Easter.

Hubby: Happy Christmas.

Me: Hakuna Matata!

Wow what a start to the day. Yes I know you’re probably thinking we’ve lost the plot, but just imagine if every day was Christmas or Easter or your birthday. Imagine if we could experience every day in so many special ways. I reckon our worlds would be so different to what we know today. I mean sometimes you just feel different.

I guess there’s just something in those celebrations that we forget all too quickly. And no, it’s not just another day. All of them are a celebration of life. So let’s celebrate…every day.

Hakuna Matata style:

Hakuna Matata, what a wonderful phrase

Hakuna Matata, ain’t no passing craze

It means no worries, for the rest of your days

It’s a problem free, philosophy

Hakuna Matata!

Elected to rule

The upcoming elections for South Africa 2019, are literally just around the corner. And yet many are still undecided – do we blame them? There is still so much uncertainty and fear and hopelessness around the state of our country.

For the first time ever, I decided to actually go through the entire list of registered parties, you know just for fun. All 47 of them! However, whilst going through each manifesto, a high level overview of what each party wishes to achieve, I have to admit, I started to feel rather uneasy, almost choked by a darkness that seems to be the plague of today’s world. It leaves you feeling almost entirely helpless.

I decided that if I write about all 47 parties I would probably find myself on the brink of suicide, so these are just a few parties South Africans have to decide between.

Note: I have added a few of my own opinions, be it sarcastic or not, but its important for us to know who we are voting for and why!

Let’s begin:

African National Congress (ANC). Currently led by Cyril Ramaphosa. A man worth more than R6 billion with questionable and speculative business dealings, including allegations regarding illegal coal deals with Eskom. We have load shedding. We have government officials stealing money blatantly without consequence. We have extreme poverty and exceptionally low levels of education. We have crime beyond belief. And yet all the ANC presidents could not put an end to any of this. The current economic situation has gotten exponentially worse, not better. Surely the question to ask is how, after 25 years of ANC leadership does one continue to vote them in?!

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). Known as the sons of the soil. Ironic that they don’t want to lift a finger and actually earn pay from a hard day’s work. It’s much easier just to take from those who have actually done the work, built a home, saved for rainy days and even positively contributed to the economy. This may come as a shock to Julius Malema, but soil needs to be worked and taken care of, if it is going to produce anything viable with value to contribute to the economy. Fighting will get you nowhere (#sarcastic).

Democratic Alliance (DA). What can I say?! Maybe the DA simply means ‘Disappointment assured’. They stand for service delivery and jobs in every home, secure streets and borders, and eliminating corruption. It sounds perfect! The one concern here is what have they actually done to achieve this to date, especially the corruption elimination! Big talk, little action?

Aljama. Yes that’s right, Alijama. Sounds like we are about to have a Muslim pyjama party. This Muslim driven party insists that they can play a sincere and positive role! Is South Africa not a declared Christian country? Why should we vote in a religious cult that subtly infiltrates every country around the world? A dominance that was not asked for in this country.

Better Residents Association (BRA). Sounds a little like an association of people who think they are better than others, while they drink cocktails and earl grey tea. It gives the impression of those living in an Estate with a luxurious golf course, forever gossiping about the next door neighbour. Don’t take it personally if you do live in a nice Estate. This party however, is led by a Delta Mokoena who, just by the way, is serving a ten year prison sentence for vigilantism. Taking matters into your own hands is a serious choice, one that needs to be carefully evaluated and lawfully acted upon. Would you want a leader like this?

Compatriots of South Africa. A party supporting the expropriation of land without compensation, specifically for the Khoi, San, Griqua and Bushmen people. May I just say that if there are any men and women part of these cultures who are still alive today when their land was supposedly taken from them, then let them come forward and take it up with the men and women who actually took their land in the first place. In other words, this could never be resolved as it was in another time, under another rule, different economic situations and different regimes. People, open your eyes and try to at least understand we cannot blame those of us here today, black or white, for the sins committed by those of the past. We can however, try make a positive difference in the decisions we make today.

Forum for Service Delivery. A party that simply promises change by wanting to offer housing vouchers up to R200 000 to deserving citizens and at the same time pushing for expropriation of land, while expelling all foreign citizens from the country. Change indeed, but with what logic and economic understanding? This party outright stands for racism and willing to do everything it can despite basic human rights. It steals from one and questionably gives to another. Service delivery with a wad of stolen notes! #Did I say that out loud?!

Good. Patricia de Lille fighting corruption and stamping down racism, with a proposal that aims to empower towns and cities to build their own communities that are safe and prosperous. You go girl! Sounds promising. Sounds good. How this will be achieved I am not sure but maybe worth looking into.

Land Party. This party has been inspired by China and wishes to mimic means and ways of a totally different country, culture and economic stability by creating all equal in respect of rights and tackling the gap between the rich and poor. I’m guessing something like – take more from those that have earned and worked hard and give to those that have done nothing and could not be bothered to at least try?! A true communistic approach. Extremely doubtful of a positive outcome here.

Patriotic Alliance (PA). Interestingly enough, this party is founded by a one-time convicted bank robber who offers hope in the form of this party being a credible alternative to the DA and ANC. But how? One would ask. Credible? From bank robberies to? What’s next? Patriotism can lead to dangerous actions which often override values and moral ethics. Why? Because it is driven by greed and want for self.

Woman Forward (WF). Founded by Albert Luthuli’s grand daughter, out of the ANC. This party is all about equity and equality regarding women’s rights, especially with gender-based violence. It’s a good concept, but estrangement of men from a country that is in dire help of economic improvement is certainly not the answer. We need men and women to take a stand.

Freedom Front Plus. This party offers hope to build a better future of hard work and steering away from the ‘give me, give me, give me’ mentality. Sounds like a difficult task but I do like the sound of this. I mentioned the greed component earlier and maybe this party has seen the root cause of why our country is indeed in dire straits.

Free Democrats. All about promoting private health care and interestingly even founded by a neurologist. I am certainly not sure how a neurologist and a politician find anything in common, but yes health care is vital. Especially with the pending NHI.

African Covenant (ACO). Headed up by Convy Baloyi, this party calls for the death penalty for murder and abortions! Taking matters into their own hands, they have assured us that supernaturally this party will be in power after the elections. Arrogance is often driven by greed, but we will indeed see.

Alzanian People Organisation (AZAPO). To force change and give hope to black people. Fair enough but where is the equality and basic human rights factor? What about the white people? This party goes way back to 1978 where most the leaders were imprisoned after the numerous black consciousness movements in 1977. I was far too young to even know about this but again, here we see a party dwelling on the past, claiming rights against people who didn’t even have a hand or voice in those decisions that were made. Seriously?!

African Content Movement (ACM). Headed up by the one and only Hlaudi Motsoeneng, the former acting COO of the SABC. The same man who lied about his qualifications and got sacked. A liar on all fronts with additional accusations of racism, dishonesty, disruption and policy violations. How can the country have any confidence in this man or his party? Clearly he is a happy chappie but don’t be fooled, no contentment will ever come from having a dishonest liar in power.

African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP). Headed up by Reverend Kenneth Meshoe, the ACDP seeks to honour God while putting the people’s needs at the center of its polices. Honouring God should have God at the center not people! Their website also compares what they promote compared to other parties and yet nowhere do we read or see any of these men and women of God on their knees in prayer instead of trying to outdo the other political opponents.

So there you have it. An overview of only seventeen of the parties. It would appear our country has top quality leadership role models!

I’m not here to tell you what to do, but I do want to say that we need to ground ourselves in Godly values and morals and stick to them despite what the past dictates. We are the people of South Africa. We are the future. We must make wise choices. Just because everyone is corrupt and inherently driven by greed doesn’t mean it is right. Everyone doing wrong is wrong. This must be exposed.

I know this has been a fairly long read but I honestly recommend you listening to this Ted talk before election day:

What is it you want?

Comments are most welcome.

Whose line is it anyway?

Today I am going to keep it light hearted and share a few examples of those real-life silly things people (#we) say without thinking.

To begin, I have to start with my husband!

Unmistakably a true salesman, often I find myself listening to the most oddest of stories – you know, those ones that really make you sleep better at night! Rattling off in the car one day he was referencing something about butchers. Don’t ask me why we were talking about meat, but he got a little wound up and of course the words just rolled off his lips without a second thought:

What a bunch of chops!

Aptly put.

A few weeks later, I get home from work and he was working in our office. In general, we like to spend a few minutes catching up and hearing about each other’s day, connecting a bit, recentering ourselves. But on this day, he requested to complete an important email and it went something like this:

Sorry babe (he shouts from our office), I’m just doing a mail!

Doing a male! I had to hold my tongue.

#gasp

Just a few days ago, our son jumped in the car after school on Friday. Eager to get going with the weekend and catch up on all the news, he begins to tell us about his science and technology test. He’s only 11:

Papa, we learnt about orgasms…

#oh my gosh

Okay keep it together. What he meant was that he was learning about organisms! I’m grateful the doors on the car were locked closed, otherwise we may have rolled out onto the street in hysterics.

Not so long ago, we headed out to visit some family staying on a game reserve. A real treat for us and quite honestly a breath of fresh air. Needless to say, as we drove from the district road through the electric gate and onto the reserve side of the fence I felt a sense of ease, a moment where the weight just lifted off my shoulders and without thinking said:

Whew…I can breathe again!

Well, my husband literally laughed at me. What was so different to the air on the other side of the fence?! The same air that you can see through the electric fence! Yes, maybe I’m just a little special.

So special in fact that not so long ago this statement truly and honestly came out of my mouth, quite profoudly:

We are who we are and together we become!

I will leave that one for you to ponder!