Dare to Dream

Some people are called to awaken the dreams of others, and help them to tell their stories.  From a corner of Limpopo Province, South Africa comes a ray of hope…

“Can anything good come from (Limpopo, South Africa)?”  John 1 vs 46

 

 

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Tourists In Our Backyard

L'esprit de Joie

Having itchy feet for the longest time, with time to spare (all of 2 hours), camera in hand and two other willing moms in tow, we set out to explore the historic Groot Constantia wine estate.  The hustle and bustle of ordinary life seemed worlds removed as the pace slowed down significantly in this beautiful rural setting that transformed us into tourists in our backyard.

Sadly we gave the manor house museum and Cloete Cellar a miss as we took a leisurely stroll to the historical bath, playing catch-up.

Dating back to 1685 when it was granted to Simon van der Stel, it is one of the oldest commercial wine farms in the country.  In telling its story, there is a visual overview of its history from past to present, including that of the Khoi-San people at the Cape and the unavoidable slave narrative.  If the walls could talk…

Its…

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Retreat

Every once in a while the opportunity presents itself for me to switch off and enjoy some me-time.  The Joy Child enjoyed a sleep-over at a friend’s and this mama had all the time in the world to enjoy a programme of nothingness.  If only…

For the last eleven-odd years my schedule has been sculpted around Joy’s, seemingly without much regard for my own.  As much as I would break out, I’d consider the whims of the child who would want to skip the beach, mountain, forest or whatever; mention going to the shopping mall and she’d be an eager beaver.

With time to spare, I had the car shod, washing laundered before breezing along the False Bay coastline for a mini-tour around Simon’s Town.  In silence I took stock of the many things to be grateful for; the word that came to mind was “freedom.”  Usually I would wade into the waves, returning home with sand as “evidence” that I had been to the beach; this time round I was content to dig my feet into the soft sand, listening to the lapping waves and watching the world roll by.

Life is good…  I am grateful for the little things…

 

The Simple Joys of Little Things

I am thankful for the little things, recognizing them for the blessings they are.

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Angel Wings & Cloud Whispers

Yonks back I could never imagine myself as a mom; now I cannot imagine my life otherwise as I, with the help of my village, raise Joy. Nothing gives me greater joy than being her encourager as she navigates through life; she makes it look so easy…

Going through our photo collection, I looked back at her first day of school over the last six years, noticing the number of parents hovering around their bright-faced young ones’ desks; I realized then that I had never lingered beyond the perfunctory meet-the-teacher. This year she dismissed me at the school gates and gave the okay for only one picture; I snapped three…

Initiating the conversation I checked if she had noticed. The wise missy reckoned with much confidence, “I wished that you could stay, but you always came to fetch me early (on the first day) because you would take time off especially to be with me.”

Nothing slips her attention. She finds joy in the little things. Ask what gift she would like and it would likely include art supplies of any kind and writing paper for doodling. Last year her wish list included a Ferrari; now even a rare treat at the nearest steakhouse steals her heart.  I have a standard reply to her question: “Mom, what treat will you give me?”

“I gave you life with lots of love.”  There is no rolling of the eyes (yet)…

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Fiery Clouds

 

My gratitude is for the exchange of love, family, relationships and the gift of each new day and its provisions. I appreciate beauty of the simplest things, and try to live life full-out.

Sometimes when I am too engrossed in the difficulties of circumstance, I encourage myself that that too shall pass, choosing to find joy. In the process I retreat to my “cave,” shut off from the world where I can be still. It is not only my escape, but also rejuvenation place to come away revived, refreshed and renewed.

Ebb & Flow: Oceans of Emotions

What I know for sure: I have not been blessed with the gift of Patience. Over the past few weeks I have been challenged in this area.

Ironically my go-to phrase to others would be, “Relax your body.” I usually breeze through life, hearty heartfelt giggles to boot as I choose Joy. This time around I wasn’t feeling it…

Whilst in “switch-off mode,” I visited the local tourism office. Approaching the glass entrance (looking like mud from working in dusty environs) I paused to read the pasted notice when I heard a click; my cue to enter.

Instinctively I made a dash for the counter when a voice from behind called me back. I had not noticed the security officer who acted as doorman with the visitors register. In true Marcelle-fashion I greeted all and sundry, apologizing to the gentleman for bypassing him because of my haste to have my queries resolved. After checking, making small talk, he then directed me to proceed to the counter.

All of the attendants piped lyrically about my interactions with the security officer and that I had taken the time to greet everyone in that space. This took me by surprise. Isn’t it common ground to be afforded the simple courtesy of acknowledgement?

(In the euphoria I unsuccessfully solicited for a job in their office seeing that I was acknowledged as a gift – over-inflated ego in tact. They wouldn’t bite and I returned lighter to my day job.) All is right with the world.

My waking thought the next day, still on Cloud Nine, was “What sets you off to fire up from 0 to 100 in less than a second? This same thought prophetically prepared me for an incident later that same morning that did exactly that…

I did everything according to the book: step away; place yourself in the other’s shoe; offer opportunity to listen; offer solutions – remembering to breathe… I said my piece (and shuttered pieces and peace), returning to the scene with an apology and “unpacking.” It took plenty resolve to let go of baggage not mine to begin with.

Stark contrast to events mentioned earlier.

Breathe… Be gentle to yourself… Relax your body…

Pride tells me that I wasn’t wrong. Ego reminds me that I am never wrong (even when I am rightfully so). The activist cries foul for justice. The peacemaker says go back, put on a plaster, nurse the wound that had to be opened to heal before it festered.

Sagely I advise: “Listen to the information without emotion.” Like wearing a shoe a size too small, the painful truth is that I could have left well alone… in the bigger scheme of life, are you adding value or subtracting?

Later that week more triggers would threaten to unsettle me to reaction, but I’ll remind myself, “Why resist? Go with the ebb and flow until you get to calmer seas.”

Let’s have a do-over…

Your Child Is My Child

Stuck in the morning peak hour traffic on my way to work, I noticed two young boys along the roadside in a serious scuffle.  It took a split second for me to stop the car, switch on the hazards and run across the busy road to intervene.

Playing counsellor, I let both parties state their case and listen to the other. 

As punishment, one had taken away the other’s thumb drives needed for school.  Strict aunty asked for said drives to be returned to their rightful owner as it would negatively impact on his ability to do his school assignments, then had the other party promise to keep his end of their original agreement, shaking on it to treat each other with the necessary respect.

A contrite “I’m sorry M’am,” came from both before I left them go on their merry way as if nothing had happened, returning to the bottle-neck that I have created in what had already been still-standing traffic.

Starting up to continue my journey I sighed, “Yeah Marcelle…” 

Driving past them I was encouraged that the conflict was resolved because someone helped them see things from the other’s perspective, forcing them to pause and listen.  I wondered how many had seen the scene play out and drive on hurriedly rather than opt to get involved.

“Why get involved?  It is none of my business…” and life continues…

PS  Later in the news I read of a pupil who, in a brawl, stabbed another pupil to death on our doorstep.  The local police arrived on the scene a little too late.  Two hopeful students leave home for what should be a normal day with lives changed forever.  I spare a thought for their traumatized parents…