Wednesday, March 25, 2015

To my #ProteaFire

My #ProteaFire guys,

First off, I am not one of those overly emotional, mushy women, I am far more practical and matter-of-fact and I know that there is about a 100% chance that none of you will read this - but I need to say it so I will make it short and sweet.

I have loved and followed the Proteas single-mindedly since we re-entered the world sport scene and to me, this squad, is the best squad we have ever had. I don't only mean on the field either. You guys have something special, individually and as a collective team, and even a blind person can see that.

Your banner says that SA inspire you - but you guys inspire us.  You model lessons for us that are so valuable like:
  • Dedication
  • Passion
  • Humility
  • Never give up
  • Do your best
  • Always be gracious
  • Don't make excuses
You guys left SA as our heroes - and you are still my heroes.  Nothing has changed.

While you guys felt heartbroken for letting us down, we were more heartbroken about seeing you heartbroken. For me, losing wasn't what made me cry, it was seeing your heartache and watching you being asked unfair questions. We know what this meant to you, or we feel we do because we feel so "in it" with you. 

The team will probably face the usual tough critics, but know that the country is behind you, and the ones with the loudest criticisms are probably critical about everything in life, so try to guard your hearts and not take it personally.

You guys made us proud, you left it all out there, and as so many cricket-fans from ALL OVER THE WORLD have said on Twitter - you won their hearts. You guys are our trophy. I suppose that's not really a consolation for you right now even though it's true.

Anyway, like I said, you guys are our rockstars. Chin up, vasbyt and I will see you as soon as I can for another great game of cricket! 

With love and respect from one of your biggest fans
(among the millions!)


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Life is made of moments...

I saw this clip this morning and really thought it was brilliant and so true.

        "There was a man all alone; 
        he had neither son nor brother.
        There was no end to his toil,
        yet his eyes were not content with his wealth.
       "For whom am I toiling," he asked,
       "and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?" (Ecc. 4:8)

We know that work is a gift from God, it gives us a sense of dignity 
and allows us to provide for our families....

"A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see is from the hand of God. for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?"
 (Ecc 2)

but if we work so hard, continuously, eventually we alienate everyone around us 
and find ourselves with a lonely space in our hearts that work can't fill.

So, today - let us live in the moment we find ourselves in, let us be completely present with the people we are with, let's embrace this day.

* * * * *

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

French Class - Take 2

We advanced to our next level -we feel by a miracle, but we are happy to be making some headway!
We still go three evenings a week for 90min sessions, still hectic for My Man but he is enjoying it as much as I am.

The difference between our teacher from last term and this one is absolute. One is not better than the other.  I really like them both but they are so, so different.

We knew that this term was not going to be boring from the moment we walked into her class. In amongst all the usual first class carnage, she popped around to each of us and proceeded to take a quick pic - the type that never are flattering, but it didn't really matter because the next day we had to make a collage /caricature of ourselves out of it, and then, working with a partner, interview each other about various personal details, write it all down and at the end of the lesson, present your partner to the class. It was a great ice-breaker activity since the class is pretty much all new people.

The other thing that really keeps us on our toes (and makes me feel like a teacher again!) is that she is forever getting people to go up to the board and complete sentences, fill in the verbs, etc - so you can't afford to lose concentration even for a moment. I am pretty sure I look blank as a new canvas most of the time!

She is an artist, very friendly, warm and entertaining, I don't think one could lose focus even if one tried. She talks so fast, that at times I feel as though I need to breathe for her - and she gestures wildly a lot... it's wonderful and kind of reminds me of home.

Yes, French this term is going to be good - even if I only understand every 5th word, I think we will be learning a lot!

Now I have a French thing to write for tonight.... I better get cracking!

Friday, March 13, 2015

A hands-free lead? I think maybe not.

My Man has often asked why I don't invest in a "Human-Dog Running Lead/Harness" type vibe for when I run with the dogs. The type that has a waistband for the runner and the lead is attached to the waistband so you can run hands-free. In theory it sounds like a good idea - but in practice, maybe not so much.

The day before yesterday I took Jack for a short run and suddenly his ears pricked.  He just stood and looked down into the dip. I stopped and looked, but saw nothing. He was rooted to the spot, then suddenly, with no warning at all, he just lurched off down the side in hot pursuit. There, four beautiful deer, who realised they had been spotted, fled. I was left with an arm-ache, heels dug in, and a good view of the deer darting up the other side.

Then yesterday, I took Tigger along a different route, and as we rounded a corner, I saw the most lovely fox. I have seen one before but not like this. It was sitting just up the bank overlooking the path I was walking on. I was walking toward him. He saw me and I saw him. Tigger was blissfully unaware at that point. However, I knew what would happen so I slowed us down to almost a stop to give the fox a chance to slip away up the hill without being seen. The fox however, had other ideas and as I stopped, it sprang off the side and into the middle of my path. At that moment Tigger spotted it. There was about 20m between the two of them. The fox stood there and looked at Tigger and Tigger just stood there and looked at it. For about 5-10 seconds, time froze and I thought, "Hey, she is being so good!" - at the same time as I thought that, I think Tigger thought "Oh crap - a fox!!!" and she just went crazy, began yelping and then took off like a bullet. At that point "Oh crap - a dog" may have entered the fox's mind and it took off, running down the middle of the road for about 30m and then slipped off into the bush.  There may still be trenches down the hill of where my heels had dug in as I was dragged. Tigger is strong. I think stronger than Jack actually, so she is really difficult to hold back. 

I would not describe our dogs as reactive but there are some things that no dog can resist.
So, the long and the short of it is - if I was in a harness for either of these occasions, I would have been flying like a kite behind them.  I think I will stick to something I can let go of quickly if need be!

I love spring, everything is coming out of hiding, the birds are singing, and each walk comes with some sort of adventure!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Camping in the Comfortable

I like to underline passages of Scripture that have meant something "important" to me. My Bible is filled with highlights and underlinings - but it has come to my attention (as I am sure it would have to yours!), that the danger of this is that we can easily let our eyes go back to those passages when we begin to read - as opposed to allowing God to give us fresh insights in new places.

It's so easy to live in this place of wanting to experience God the way we did a year, 5 years or 25 years ago. In the same way as we "camp" at underlined passages, we can camp at past experiences. We compare how we experienced God then, and measure him up against what we are experiencing now - and sometimes we think He is not performing up to our expectations.  This can be so dangerous to us if we are not aware of it happening (I think), because we can completely miss out on today!

I downloaded the NIV Bible onto my Kindle for 2 reasons really - nothing spiritual, just practical: 

(a) I could make the print bigger and
(b) It's lighter in my bag!

HOWEVER, a third and possibly even better reason has surfaced - there are no highlighted passages of mine, no notes in the margin, no dates to remember events.... and so I am finding that I am reading passages I have not read in ages, I am "finding God in unexpected places" (to quote the title of Philip Yancey's book!) and it's good!

Don't misunderstand me, we must never devalue past experience since all of our experiences in Christ remind us of His faithfulness, they build our faith, grow us and shape us, but I do believe that if we are not careful and keep on camping in the same places, we can (a) become dissatisfied with God for not meeting us where we want him to (based on the past), and (b) become comfortable with what we (think we) know and lose out on fresh expressions and insights that this awesomely creative God can share with us if we are willing to move away from our expectations and spiritual comfort zones and just trust him. 

So, all that to say this actually... I am loving having my Bible on my Kindle!  :)

Sometimes we think we know what we see but with another look,
we could see the same thing, differently.