Thinking brilliantly…

23 Feb

About a year ago my husband and I went to Germany for a few days. While we were waiting for a friend to pick us up from our hotel in Hamburg, I paged through a random coffee table book. It turned out to be the most inspiring book. It had articles about artists explaining how they got to live their creative dream in an authentic way. The one artist, Christine Koch caught my eye. She said:

Why not think things that have never been thought before?

I absolutely loved this quote, and as you can see I even photographed the page.

Which posed the following questions:

-How can I read a life-changing sentence like the one above, think about it for a minute or two and then file it in my photo album?

-Why did I not read this and allowed it to change my thinking? In the most radical way, I might add…

-Why was this merely a moment and not a gem that affected my life forever?

I found the above photo in my album archives earlier this week. Then a few days ago in an evening class the speaker taught on more or less the same subject….and the penny dropped!

I realised I can, and am probably called to, think things that no one has ever thought before. I also have permission to think big and radical ideas. I have the ability to think outside my little box, even outside the big box I have put my life-journey in. I can think on a whole different level. I can think along avenues that no one has walked down before. I am encouraged and inspired and I feel all the feelings I missed while a read the quote that day.

Just imagine what might happen to the world if each person have one thought that no one has ever thought before? A new thought that brings life. We could literally change this world. We could establish a reality not seen or experienced before our time. This would cause an earth with new ideas, inventions and designs.

So, by living in this exciting place, I can become a voice for people that think they were not made for something spectacular. I can be a voice reminding people that they were made to influence society, because they were made incredibly unique. Imagine all people starting to understand their own worth and value, and live accordingly. Imagine all people starting to think just one thought that is their unique thought and believe enough in that thought to live it out. We would have an unstoppable life-bringing nation.

There’s nothing wrong with living a life, thinking thoughts that have been thought before. But in each of us there is something that yearns for more, yearns to put our toe into the water on the other side of the boundary line of our boxes. And once we have tasted the more, there is no turning back. And I believe once we realize that each of us can think brilliantly, there will be no turning back…

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Beautiful, courageous vulnerability

18 Feb

I may have said already that part of my vision for this year is to live intentionally. I have often felt that the past few years have been a bit like swimming in order to keep my head above water. Don’t get me wrong, I loved those years and I have embraced many, many amazing moments. But the truth is it felt as if some intricate details of life have passed me by in a way.  So, this year, being in a whole different space with my ‘baby’ just having turned three, and my business more stable, I am starting to live with intention again. I want to experience with intention. I want to write with intention. I want to listen with intention. Mmmmm listening… for me it’s sensitizing my ear to what is not said, the heart and emotion behind the ‘what is being said’.

This past week I have been in four situations where I have been blown away by things people had told me. Being in a season of my life-journey where my tears are welled up very close to the surface (in a good way), I felt that if I would start crying, I may never stop.  So I listened and kept my composure. But in every instance I walked away from the encounter realising that the particular individual has been immensely vulnerable.

Being vulnerable can be scary. Why is that? Is it because we find it so difficult to be honest and appear imperfect to others? Is it because we might look as if we don’t have all the answers? Or are we afraid of feeling exposed? Maybe we have to embark on an unknown journey, a journey without walls around us. The journey of an open heart.

A message from a friend on our pavement...

A few stories in point: I was sitting next to the school tennis courts on a tiny wall listening to a mom sharing her perceived wrong decisions she made concerning her daughter. All I heard was her immense love for that child. I was sitting on our bed listening to my daughter  sharing her failures, and all I heard was a journey of growing up being embarked on. I was at a workshop listening to a woman sharing her innermost feelings, and all I heard was courage. I was attending a class listening to a woman sharing her life story and all I heard was the influence she has on every life she meets.

I walked away from each of these moments feeling that I was holding their hearts in my hands. My one friend summed it up as a feeling of standing on holy ground. In all four instances I felt like my life had changed by what they shared. Some shared profound stuff and some just raw honest emotion. But my life has been impacted by open hearts, by a need to not hide the imperfection. It encouraged me! I want to live vulnerably. I want to live honestly. I want to live authentically. I want my special people to know what I am carrying around in my heart, regardless… Being vulnerable opens up the way for others to feel safe enough to also be just that. Being vulnerable brings freedom. The freedom form hiding perhaps.

There is something so attractive about being vulnerable.
There is something so beautiful about being vulnerable.
There is something so courageous about being vulnerable.

Discovering me…

6 Feb
I woke up this morning with the sound of two of my girls fighting over who is more my daughter than the other… I laughed when I heard this, but it got me thinking. Isn’t that the burning questions in most of our hearts? Who and whose am I? And is there a place for me in the ‘family’, just the way I am? For some time now I have pondered on the word “identity” and its importance in our lives. I have studied the topic, read books about it (which, by the way has changed my life), and yet, it took me 37 years to really understand what it means to discover who I really am, the real me. What does it look like to actually have real identity? It has been a major part of my journey last year. My life had to come to a halt, in a way, to learn more about my own identity. Taking a step back,  got me to see who I really am. So often other things define us: what I do, what I’ve been taught, who others expect me to be… And when all this is taken out of the equation it gives you a chance to start from afresh discovering the true you. Feeling comfortable with who you are, learning to be honest about failures or faults, learning to enjoy yourself, actually learning to just be and loving it. That’s it!

Just Be...

A while ago, someone said to me that I should listen to my daughters. The three of them will teach me profound things. I have subsequently made an effort to pay attention to what my kids say and do. I truly believe that identity is one major aspect which we can learn from kids. Lana (our nearly-3 year old) often say to me; “Why can’t I have a bite of your ice cream, I’m your daughter?” or she would look at her sister in a highly offended way and say “How can you leave me alone in the kitchen, I’m your sister?”. I’ve come to realise that she feels so secure in our love and she understands her place in this family in such a way that she believes that what is ours, is hers and what we own and carry, she has access to. How much more can we be ourselves instead of relentlessly striving to become.

Feeling secure

I’ve read in an awesome book: “When our activities are an expression of our person, it is amazing how much we enjoy what we do.” So I’m thinking, that is ultimately lived out if we are secure in who we are. This is my vision for 2012, that what I do has to be an expression of who I am, without striving or trying, it has to come from my inner most being, it has to look and smell and feel like authentically me. That for me is the breakthrough in the journey of discovering myself. Even if what I do, say or write looks a bit messy, its me… That is the way I want to walk into my destiny, as me. I have made the great decision of not becoming what I think I should be. Instead, I am being who I am. Growth and change is obviously not excluded, just stopping the endless striving. That excites me. And the life-lessons will shape this ‘me’.
And best of all is that this is the inheritance we leave to our childrens’ generation. For them to keep on feeling secure enough to be themselves. To sustain this in a world that could be very formula-driven, with high expectations and the ‘perfect’ picture of what people should look like, act like, be like. Isn’t that exciting that our children are in a place where they can live this, now, without walking half of their life before realizing this truth. This is how my breakthrough becomes their inheritance…

Every Life has a story…

31 Jan
Having been on our own amazing life-journey the past 9 months, I have started listening intently to what other people share about their life. And what I have realised, is that every person has a story. Every person has a story with a loud voice. Every person has a story that impacts others in a profound way. The impact of that story lies both in the journey itself as well as in the way it is handled.
Sometimes our stories are written in bright colours, full of glitter, stories filled with adventure and fun. Sometimes our stories are written in the softest pastel colours, colours which represent tenderness and gentleness. And sometimes our stories are written in shades of black and grey, hard colours, but immensely powerful colours.
I often look back at our journey, a journey we would never have envisaged for ourselves. As the pages and colors unfold, I wonder… I wonder if we have walked this journey  in the best possible way we could have. I wonder if we have done enough, and if we have lived from a place of rest. I wonder if we have read all the pages, or maybe missed some of the important chapters of the story. I have realised that the secret of walking your journey well, lies in feeling so safe in Papa’s arms that it doesn’t really matter if the picture you had in mind looks nothing like the reality. The secret lies in embracing every word of every page of your story.
I say again, each life has a journey and each journey has a story. And each story is significant and carries impact. Never underestimate the power that lies within your story. You might feel as if your journey has been insignificant or small. Or you might feel like you have failed due to the manner in which you have walked your journey.  Therefore, you might choose to keep your story to yourself. Don’t do that. Tell your story, walk your journey with your head held high. And know that  your voice is important. And next time you sit with someone, take time to listen to their story…
My grandparents have 91 years of stories behind them. And 65 years of married life. Rich and impactful!
Even though our girls are only starting out their life journey, they already have profound stories to share.

Being a victorious mom…

26 Jan

I proudly announced to my husband this morning that I am ‘finally’ feeling as if I’m starting the year from a place of victory! My girls’ school uniforms and stationary have all been marked (in time for school), my diary is up to date and I’ve got an exciting vision for my business.

I used to be a person who functioned with lists. My life was carefully plotted out on either the pages of my diary, or on to-do stick it notes, neatly ticked off as I accomplished each item. I was even the one who reminded people of their anniversaries before they remembered….!  It sounds a bit painful, I know. Then we had our first daughter Kayla, and apart from the pajama drills and bloodshot eyes due to a lack of sleep, I was back into my routine quick enough. Even with the arrival of Nika, it felt like I sprung back to my real, organised life quite quickly! With two kids, ages well spaced, life was different and fun, but still manageable through little lists. And then Lana arrived, and with her came the wonderful, colourful, crazy lifestyle of a home with three girls. It brought orderly chaos into my life, which I have not yet restored, until maybe this year (which is not even one month old yet). For the past three years, since Lana’s birth,  I felt like I never knew what was going on, until it was maybe too late. I have not remembered birthdays (although it is in my diary) and if I remember in time, then the card or gift may not be ready. My phone is always on silent and I often have 15 voice messages on my phone before I get a moment to listen to it. That’s why this morning’s realization was so profound for me.

But soon after my feeling of elation at being in charge again, I wondered for a moment if it really is that important. After 3 years of living in a place of not being on top of it all, it might not be my goal anymore. Or might not even fit our current lifestyle anymore. And then the question: “What does it really mean to live from a victorious place as a mom (and wife)?”

Isn’t it funny how we can feel so self-confident in most aspects of our lives, but when it comes to being a mom it’s so easy to second-guess ourselves all the time. And so my thought pattern is: Is it okay to not always be in charge of to-do’s and meetings and times? Is it good enough to be uninvolved enough at school to not be a paranoid mom, but just involved enough to at least know when there is a school outing? Is it okay for our girls to maybe not attend all the school parties due to the invites getting lost (in the pile of unfilled papers on our dining room table), but rather for them to feel respected when they are with me? My conclusion: Even though our ‘baby’ is now 3 and I don’t have an excuse to be a bit scatter-brained anymore, my victory as a mom lies in the fact that I try and teach our girls that they are important, that they have value, that they are loved to bits and respected and that I truly enjoy them! I love their personalities, I love their uniqueness and I want them to know that they will be safe with us, always, regardless of what they do or don’t do. I want them to know that they are powerful and have influence and that I often learn huge life-lessons from them! Yes that’s it! That’s the victory! Teaching our kids to carry life lightly and embrace every moment. Teaching them to build memories, even if it’s just painting a picture or chasing the ice-cream van for a treat. Teaching our kids to take themselves lightly but feel worthy, to have fun and laugh together. Teaching them that they can do anything and encourage them to fly, and yet, let them enjoy their failures. Teaching them that relationships are way more important than anything else. I now have a heart connection with each one of these three girls. I do not just function with them.

So, I might not ever be a list-person again. Yay, what a relief. But I do live a victorious life! May your days be filled with victory and lots of amazing moments.

Christmas all year round

22 Jan

It’s new year! What an amazing feeling. We often say that things dont just change overnight because of a date on a calender that ticks over. It’s not as if we go to sleep on the 31st of December and wake up the next morning and everything is suddenly different. This might be true, but what is also true is that there is a sense of freshness about the start of a new year. There is a sense of mystery of what the year will hold, a sense of excitement of discovering all the treasures hidden in the 365 days ahead. And then the latent hope and expectation of the possibility of dreams coming true.

So why then, in the midst of all this newness, write about Christmas? You might think that writing about Christmas is a bit odd at this moment. I’m either too late or wayyyy early with jotting down what I’m carrying in my heart. But I’m not. Apart from Springday (which is my birthday), Christmas is my favourite season, my favourite time of the year! In our home Christmas is a time we enjoy! It is a time we spend with family and friends. It is time we celebrate and craft. Its a time we feast and bake, we prepare and decorate. Most of all  we have an overwhelming knowing that this day has changed the course of our lives forever.

Recently, a few of my friends and I got together for a tea-party-journal-making-morning over the weekend. As we were crafting we shared our feelings, visions and dreams about the year ahead. For me – it was that 2012 will be like Christmas all year round. So the thought of having these above mentioned experiences as part of our every day this year is heart-warming.

So here’s to a merry Christmas to all of you – throughout this year. May this year be filled with many special moments of baking cookies with your little ones. May there be more than enough times to sit on the carpet and draw your favorite pictures or laugh with each other. May there be times when you can steal a moment and sit down with a cup of tea and look at the beautiful raindrops falling outside. May you have a feast in a small or big way every day!

My favorite people on our Christmas 2011 pic…

A special friend gave me these words to remind myself of what I’ve said…The words are from the Muppet Christmas Song:

It’s in the singing of a street corner choir
It’s going home and getting warm by the fire
It’s true
Wherever you find love
It feels like Christmas
A cup of kindness that we share with another
A sweet reunion with a friend or a brother
In all the places you find love
It feels like Christmas
It is the season of the heart
A special time of caring
The ways of love made clear
It is the season of the spirit
The message if we hear it
Is make it last all year
It’s in the giving of a gift to another
A pair of mittens that were made by your mother
It’s all the ways that we show love
That feel like Christmas

A part of childhood we’ll always remember
It is the summer of the soul in December
Yes, when you do your best for love
It feels like Christmas
It is the season of the heart
A special time of caring
The ways of love made clear
It is the season of the spirit
The message if we hear it
Is make it last all year
It’s true, wherever you find love
It feels like Christmas

Butterflies and girls…

20 Dec

Apart from glitter, I don’t think there is anything more girlie than butterflies. That’s why it was so precious that a real butterfly became part of our photo shoot. Nika saved it from our pool and it fit right in by posing for photos and travelling to all the venues with us.Yes, I do make the hairbands and clips, but no, real butterflies are not part of the deal 😉

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