Thursday, April 30, 2015

April Love: Thank you...

I have to admit that I am a glass-half-empty kind of gal.  I can never be relied on to "always look on the bright side of life" (ba-doom, ba-doom, ba-doom, ba-doom pee-doom.... sorry....) , but instead can always be relied on to expect the worst, to bemoan my fate and generally to be a pessimistic PITA (Pain In The Ass).... It can get very tiresome!  So yes, it is time to make a change.  Time to unGrinchify myself. 

Where do I start?  Well, I've been thinking that perhaps the first step in this process is to be thankful for my many, many blessings.  So, I am trying each day to take a moment to be grateful.  I've been looking at this site and I think the advice is pretty good.


I'm hoping that in time I will develop a sense that my half-full glass is enough, that it's all I need, that it satisfies me and that I am blessed to have it.


And this post brings me to the end of my April Love journey.  Thank you to my fellow "April Loves" who have stopped by my blog and who have shared this journey with me.



This post is part of  the April Love series, the brain-child of Susannah Conway.  In Susannah's words:
The theme of the challenge, as you’ve probably guessed, is LOVE — love for ourselves, our lives, the world around us. LOVE expressed in gratitude and kindness. February might have Valentine but we’ve got April LOVE :)If you'd like to get in on the action, you can sign up here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

April Love: My eyes


My eyes.  Hmmm.  There is this thing about my eyes.  You see, when God was handing out eye lashes, I think I must have been playing tiddly-winks around the corner; because truly, I got the most pathetic eye lashes ever - the runt of the eyelashes-litter, the rejects, the left-over eye lashes that nobody else wanted. 

My eye lashes are sparse, very sparse, they are short and, while not exactly pale, they are neutral-coloured, to be honest my eye lashes are almost non-existent.  Pathetic.  I rely HEAVILY on mascara (bless the inventors of mascara, I am forever in their debt!)  If I don't wear eye make-up I find my family asking me if I am feeling unwell.  I look like a plucked chicken.  I would never go out in public without mascara, ever.  No sirreeee.  Never going to happen. 

I think I inherited my pathetic eye lashes from my mother.  She also never went without make-up.  One day, shortly before she died, she had to be rushed to hospital, she was very, very ill indeed.  The paramedics were wheeling her to the ambulance and I was walking alongside the stretcher, feeling quite traumatised, wondering whether she was about to die (she had been found unconscious that morning, it was horrible.)  Suddenly, she pulled the oxygen mask off and demanded to know whether I had packed her mascara?  I said I wasn't sure and she insisted that the paramedics wait while I scratched through her overnight bag to see whether the mascara was there!  Of course it wasn't - why would I have packed mascara for a woman on her death-bed?!  I was forced to run inside and find it while the bemused paramedics looked on in disbelief..  Yes, she was a feisty woman alright, what she lacked in eye lashes she made up for in personality!!


This post is part of  the April Love series, the brain-child of Susannah Conway.  In Susannah's words:
The theme of the challenge, as you’ve probably guessed, is LOVE — love for ourselves, our lives, the world around us. LOVE expressed in gratitude and kindness. February might have Valentine but we’ve got April LOVE :)If you'd like to get in on the action, you can sign up here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

April Love: Clouds


Roxy took this photo a few days ago and I just love it.  Another reason why I love Autumn - the beautiful sunsets!

This post is part of  the April Love series, the brain-child of Susannah Conway.  In Susannah's words:
The theme of the challenge, as you’ve probably guessed, is LOVE — love for ourselves, our lives, the world around us. LOVE expressed in gratitude and kindness. February might have Valentine but we’ve got April LOVE :)If you'd like to get in on the action, you can sign up here.

Monday, April 27, 2015

April Love: Love is

Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.
 


This post is part of  the April Love series, the brain-child of Susannah Conway.  In Susannah's words:
The theme of the challenge, as you’ve probably guessed, is LOVE — love for ourselves, our lives, the world around us. LOVE expressed in gratitude and kindness. February might have Valentine but we’ve got April LOVE :)If you'd like to get in on the action, you can sign up here.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

April Love: Something beginning with A


I've been wading through a lot of emotional stuff of late.  It's frightening to me how our view of ourselves, our lives, our family and life in general really, can become so mixed up and messed up that eventually we don't know which way is up.   Being a co-dependent can amplify this hugely.  When your emotions are so reliant on the emotions of another person/people, you can very easily lose sight of what you are actually feeling.  You can stop being the real you and live through everyone around you.  I can see that for many, many years I was so tied up with what other family members were feeling, whether they were okay/happy/on an even-keel, that I didn't even stop to assess my own emotional health...It's frightening to me. 

I can remember sitting in therapy one day, and my therapist asked me to describe a particular situation to her - I was saying "and then "insert name" was feeling upset because she didn't want to do this particular activity and "insert another name" was getting frustrated and angry because she did want to do it and I didn't know what to do to make them both happy again."  The therapist stared at me for a while and then said "and what did YOU want to do at that time?  Did you want to do the activity?  What were your feelings on the matter?"  I was blank, completely blank, eventually I had to say "I have no idea what I was feeling.  No idea."  It was like a jug of ice-cold water being poured over my head.  Light-bulb moment of note.  There are SO many situations I can recall where I know exactly what each family member was feeling, but I have no clue, absolutely no clue, what I was feeling in that situation. 

For a couple of years now I have been trying to change that.  I have been trying to focus on my feelings, my wants and needs, my emotional well-being.  It's been so much more difficult than I thought it would be.  I assumed that by nature we are all pretty selfish, so self-care should come naturally.  In some ways it does (see yesterday's post!), but in other ways it has been an uphill struggle.  Putting my own agenda forward, rather than jumping through hoops to make everyone else's agendas work has not been easy at all.  In some ways, now that I am aware that my needs and feelings deserve to be taken into account, I find myself protecting that right rather more vociferously than I should, so there has been some tension around here!  But it's worth the battle.  I need to live an authentic life.  I need to be true to my inner self.  I need to live as the real me, with all my thoughts, needs, desires, failings and foibles. 



This post is part of  the April Love series, the brain-child of Susannah Conway.  In Susannah's words:
The theme of the challenge, as you’ve probably guessed, is LOVE — love for ourselves, our lives, the world around us. LOVE expressed in gratitude and kindness. February might have Valentine but we’ve got April LOVE :)If you'd like to get in on the action, you can sign up here.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

April Love: Simple Pleasures

Some would disagree, but personally I don't think it takes a lot to make me happy.  I like the simple things in life.  Give me a dog, a bed, some reading material, a bar of chocolate, some fizzy water and I'm a happy woman! (Okay, I admit, I am a tad fussy about the chocolate (must be Lindt), the water (must be San Pellegrino), the reading material (I have my list of authors on hand) and there are only two particular dogs allowed on my bed... but other than that I am really easy-going!  Honest.)



 
 

This post is part of  the April Love series, the brain-child of Susannah Conway.  In Susannah's words:
The theme of the challenge, as you’ve probably guessed, is LOVE — love for ourselves, our lives, the world around us. LOVE expressed in gratitude and kindness. February might have Valentine but we’ve got April LOVE :)If you'd like to get in on the action, you can sign up here.

 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

April Love: When I was small

When I was 9 years old my mother married my step-dad and we moved into the home that he had grown up in.  It was an older house, with many relics of his growing up years, all kinds of treasures, that I spent many hours poring over.  Fascinating tin boxes with old pencils and such-like in them.  Stacks of his sister's "Annuals" - remember the teen magazines that brought out hardcover "Annuals"??  One of the things that made a huge impression on me was an old record player.  My Dad gave it to me and with it an LP record.  It was my first ever LP record and I LOVED it.  It was this one:


I think I still know the words to every single track on that LP.  I played it over and over and over again, for YEARS.  To this day, that LP is one of my all-time favourites and the Bee-Gees hold a very special place in my heart.

I thought this one was particularly appropriate today.... When I was small.....


 

This post is part of  the April Love series, the brain-child of Susannah Conway.  In Susannah's words:
The theme of the challenge, as you’ve probably guessed, is LOVE — love for ourselves, our lives, the world around us. LOVE expressed in gratitude and kindness. February might have Valentine but we’ve got April LOVE :)If you'd like to get in on the action, you can sign up here.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

April Love: Autumn

I love Autumn, it is by far my favourite time of the year. The blue, blue skies, the cooler temps (yes please!) the decrease in humidity - which leads to days when my hair actually looks like hair and not...fuzz... Yes, I love Autumn. 


Did I mention the blue, blue sky?!
 
 

This post is part of  the April Love series, the brain-child of Susannah Conway.  In Susannah's words:
The theme of the challenge, as you’ve probably guessed, is LOVE — love for ourselves, our lives, the world around us. LOVE expressed in gratitude and kindness. February might have Valentine but we’ve got April LOVE :)If you'd like to get in on the action, you can sign up here.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

April Love: A Happy Memory


This day, spent in Corfu while on a cruise last year, was one of the happiest days ever.  Wonderful friends, family and the most amazing scenery.  So very special.

This post is part of  the April Love series, the brain-child of Susannah Conway.  In Susannah's words:
The theme of the challenge, as you’ve probably guessed, is LOVE — love for ourselves, our lives, the world around us. LOVE expressed in gratitude and kindness. February might have Valentine but we’ve got April LOVE :)If you'd like to get in on the action, you can sign up here.

Monday, April 20, 2015

April Love: My scent

It's funny, I grew up with a mother who loved her perfume.  Seriously loved it!  I on the other hand have never really gotten into the perfume thing in a big way.  I like a more natural smell. 

The one scent that really, really rocks my world is Lush cosmetic's Karma.  Oh man I love that stuff!

 
I think if I had to choose a "signature scent", this would definitely be mine.

This post is part of  the April Love series, the brain-child of Susannah Conway.  In Susannah's words:
The theme of the challenge, as you’ve probably guessed, is LOVE — love for ourselves, our lives, the world around us. LOVE expressed in gratitude and kindness. February might have Valentine but we’ve got April LOVE :)If you'd like to get in on the action, you can sign up here.
 


Sunday, April 19, 2015

April Love: I live here

I live in Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa.

A place of contrasts...Wealth and poverty.  Black and white.  Crime-ridden and care-free.  Beautiful and hideous. Mountains and sea. Potential and hopelessness.  Violence and peace.  Love and hate. Kindness and cruelty.  Happy and heart-wrenching....

There is something hard to define about living in a place like this.  Some energy that you don't find in many other places.  It gets in your blood and makes the thought of leaving very difficult.

Drakensberg
Drakensberg

Valley of 1000 Hills
Valley of 1000 Hills

uShaka Durban
uShaka Marine World

Nelson Mandela Capture Site
Nelson Mandela Capture Site

KZN Midlands

Durban Moses Mabhida
Durban from Moses Mabhida Stadium

Durban Beachfront
Durban beachfront


Phezulu
Phezulu Safari Park
 
This post is part of  the April Love series, the brain-child of Susannah Conway.  In Susannah's words:
The theme of the challenge, as you’ve probably guessed, is LOVE — love for ourselves, our lives, the world around us. LOVE expressed in gratitude and kindness. February might have Valentine but we’ve got April LOVE :)If you'd like to get in on the action, you can sign up here. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

April Love: Sweet


Isabella, 18 April 2015
 

My precious little granddaughter, Isabella, playing on the beach this morning. Nothing is sweeter than the relationship I have with this little munchkin. I literally adore this child.  She brings so much joy, fun and laughter into my life.


This post is part of  the April Love series, the brain-child of Susannah Conway.  In Susannah's words:
The theme of the challenge, as you’ve probably guessed, is LOVE — love for ourselves, our lives, the world around us. LOVE expressed in gratitude and kindness. February might have Valentine but we’ve got April LOVE :)If you'd like to get in on the action, you can sign up here. 
 
 


Friday, April 17, 2015

April Love: A life-changing book

I struggled with this prompt because there are many books that I love so much, but that doesn't make them life-changing.  There aren't many books I have read that I can honestly say have changed my life.  In fact, there are probably only two:  The Bible and Codependent No More.

I read The Bible for the first time in 2005.  I mean, I had read bits and pieces of it before then, but in 2005 I decided to actually read it from cover to cover.  And I did.  No mean feat, I might add!  The Bible has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, at times more so than others.  It has been life-changing in that it is a guideline for how I believe I should conduct my life (not saying that I do though!)  I consider myself a Believer, but I wouldn't go so far as to call myself a Christian.  I believe that Jesus died for my sins, but I certainly don't believe in a LOT of what goes on in church.  In fact I made a decision to stop going to church altogether about 10 years ago and haven't been back since. 

The other book that has been a life-changer for me is Codependent No More by Melody Beattie.


After going through an immensely tough time a couple of years ago I began to search for some answers and more and more I began identifying with what I was reading about Codependency.  After seeing Codependent No More mentioned repeatedly, I read the book and it hit the nail on the head for me, I had a "lightbulb moment" on pretty much every page.  I then spent some time with a clinical psychologist and she confirmed what I already knew, I'm codependent.  This book gave me permission to break free from some really destructive coping mechanisms.  It gave me the confidence to start making some profound changes in my life.  I'm still very much a work-in-progress, but I have made some meaningful changes and I couldn't have done it without Codependent No More.

This post is part of  the April Love series, the brain-child of Susannah Conway.  In Susannah's words:
The theme of the challenge, as you’ve probably guessed, is LOVE — love for ourselves, our lives, the world around us. LOVE expressed in gratitude and kindness. February might have Valentine but we’ve got April LOVE :)If you'd like to get in on the action, you can sign up here.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

April Love: 10 years ago

 
16 April 2005
 
One of many nights spent in hospital with my Paula-girl over the years!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

April Love: My current obsession

I am currently obsessed by Buddha Bowls.  I am on a mission to eat really healthily and since the beginning of the year Paula and I haven't been eating red meat, so the Buddha bowl fits perfectly into that scenario.



Monday, April 13, 2015

April Love: Love Note to Self


Dear Me,

Just want to remind you that you are doing great.  You don't have to change in order to be okay - you ARE okay just as you are. 

Please stop trying to fit into all the little boxes created by people who don't know you - you are too unique to fit into a box.  You don't need a box!  You deserve to be free and spontaneous, not hemmed in by expectations.

Remember, you don't need to jump through hoops to be worthy of love.  You are worthy.  Read that again..... You are worthy.

Now go out and be happy, be satisfied with who you are, be content.  And know that you are wonderful.

With Love
Me

Sunday, April 12, 2015

April Love - Evening rituals

If the weather cooperates, I like to sit out on the deck and have a drink with my family before dinner.  Doing this seems to calm us, help us let go of the busyness of the day, and prepare us for a peaceful evening.



I don't have much in the way of evening rituals - I love having a bath in the evening, and at bed-time I usually read for a little while before turning out the light; but I am working on incorporating some more beneficial rituals into my evening routine.  I find that I sleep a lot better if I meditate before going to bed, but I need to practice some disciple and actually DO this more often.

I was reading a little while ago about the need for rituals in the Highly Sensitive person. And, being a highly sensitive person, I can see how this is true.   My life seems to flow better when I have some rituals built into it.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

April Love - An inspiring person

I thought about this prompt long and hard.   The usual suspects came to mind: Madiba, Mother Theresa, Oprah, Deepak Chopra, the Dalai Lama....  But ultimately, I decided to look much closer to home, to someone who inspires me with her actions daily.  So I have chosen my daughter, Paula.


Paula inspires me every single day, with her courage, her determination, her thoughtfulness, her sense of justice, her commitment to her beliefs and her many other amazing attributes.  She is one incredible young lady and I am very, very lucky to have her as my "person". 

Friday, April 10, 2015

April Love - My Superpower

Hmmmmm. Tough prompt today!

I gave it a little thought and decided that my superpower is anxiety... well, heaven knows, I can produce more anxiety in one day than some people do in a lifetime.....



But seriously, off the top of my head I had no idea what my superpower is!  So I thought I'd take a test to find out.  I did this one

My result was this:

 
I really rather liked that result!  But it's also a leetle bit worrying, because, having spent some time in therapy in the last couple of years, I have discovered that I am hugely co-dependent and wanting to help everyone around me and make sure that they are happy is one of the glaring symptoms of my co-dependency.  So yeah, I'm working on being a little less helpful!
 
Really digging deep, I think that my superpower is my ability to see all the faults, pitfalls and weaknesses in my life and to carry on regardless.   To try to make the best of the hand I have been dealt.  My ability to "just keep going".  I'll claim that as my superpower!


Thursday, April 09, 2015

April Love: 5 years ago

 
My kidlets 2010
 
 
5 Years ago we went to Egypt.  5 years ago life was different.  5 years ago my girls were both still living at home.  5 years ago we were still living in Shelly Beach.  So much has changed.  Life is quite different now.  And yet in many ways things stay the same, because we're a family and we have a particular way of doing things, a certain rhythm to our lives..  There's a deep sense of security in knowing that although life will throw curve balls at us, and things will change, we will ultimately remain the same family, with the same way of life.

This post is part of  the April Love series, the brain-child of Susannah Conway.  In Susannah's words:
The theme of the challenge, as you’ve probably guessed, is LOVE — love for ourselves, our lives, the world around us. LOVE expressed in gratitude and kindness. February might have Valentine but we’ve got April LOVE :)If you'd like to get in on the action, you can sign up here.


Wednesday, April 08, 2015

April Love - From where I stand

 
The view from my bedroom window
 
 

This post is part of  the April Love series, the brain-child of Susannah Conway.  In Susannah's words:
The theme of the challenge, as you’ve probably guessed, is LOVE — love for ourselves, our lives, the world around us. LOVE expressed in gratitude and kindness. February might have Valentine but we’ve got April LOVE :)If you'd like to get in on the action, you can sign up here.


Tuesday, April 07, 2015

April Love: What Nourishes Me?

Having been very rather lost in recent times, I feel I am slowly finding my way again.  It's been a terribly difficult, yet very enlightening time.  I feel like I have shed a lot of the excess baggage that was weighing me down and now I am left with the authentic "bones" of me.  It's been a journey of self-discovery really.  No doubt my journey is far from over, I have a way to go yet, but already I am discovering the things that really matter to me.  The things that are good for me.  The things that nourish my soul.

 
 
 
 
 

This post is part of  the April Love series, the brain-child of Susannah Conway.  In Susannah's words:
The theme of the challenge, as you’ve probably guessed, is LOVE — love for ourselves, our lives, the world around us. LOVE expressed in gratitude and kindness. February might have Valentine but we’ve got April LOVE :)If you'd like to get in on the action, you can sign up here.
 


Monday, April 06, 2015

Saturday, April 04, 2015

April Love - Shadows




she stood at the dry well
under the blush of eastern sky
and looked in

heard the shadows
of water lapping the stone wall
and the crack

of a pebble skittering down
through slivered light to
silvered shadow

what is darkness but
a pool of color resting
awaiting replenishment

shadow is only
waiting for
the return of light

poem by MB via Find Me a Bluebird

Friday, April 03, 2015

An inspiring quote

My word for this year is "Steady", so I have spent some time on pinterest building a board of quotes to inspire me to be more steady.

I particularly like this one:

Thursday, April 02, 2015

April Love - Favourite flowers


Roses, always roses (because they're pretty much the only flowers I'm not allergic to!) 

This post is part of  the April Love series, the brain-child of Susannah Conway.  In Susannah's words:
The theme of the challenge, as you’ve probably guessed, is LOVE — love for ourselves, our lives, the world around us. LOVE expressed in gratitude and kindness. February might have Valentine but we’ve got April LOVE :)If you'd like to get in on the action, you can sign up here.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

April Love - My morning view

I really enjoyed doing the December Reflections photo challenge, hosted by Susannah Conway, so when she said there would be an April challenge I signed up right away.

This is what she has to say about this challenge:

The theme of the challenge, as you’ve probably guessed, is LOVE — love for ourselves, our lives, the world around us. LOVE expressed in gratitude and kindness. February might have Valentine but we’ve got April LOVE :)


If you'd like to get in on the action, you can sign up here.

Without further ado, on to today's prompt:

My morning View

Generally the first things my eyes fall on in the morning is the back of my little dog :-)


My favourite cold remedy

I've been knocked flat by a cold this week.  Sore throat, sniffles, stuffy head, temp..... feeling very sorry for myself!  In fact, it&#...